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THE POPES 
and the 

MISSIONS 



Four Encyclical Letters 



Ten thousand copies of the Sword pamphlet, 
"The Future of Africa" — the Holy Father's 
Encyclical Fidei Donum — have gone out during 
the last few months. Orders continue to come 
in, together with requests for the earlier 
Missionary Encyclicals, the first two of which are 
no longer in print in this country. We take 
this opportunity, therefore, of presenting all 
four of these Encyclicals in one booklet, indexed 
for easy reference and at a price within 
everyone's reach. 



CONTENTS 



page 
Maximum Illud 

Apostolic Letter of Benedict XV, 

November 30th, 1919 i 

Rerum Ecclesiae 

Encyclical Letter of Pius XI, 

February 28th, 1926 20 

EVANGELII PrAECONES 

Encyclical Letter of Pius XII, 

June 2nd, 1951 43 

FiDEI DONUM 

Encyclical Letter of Pius XII, 

April 2ist, 1957 74 

Index 98 



MAXIMUM ILLUD 

ON THE PROPAGATION OF THE FAITH 
THROUGHOUT THE WORLD 

Apostolic letter of Benedict XV, November ^oth, igig 

HTHE great and sublime mission which Our Lord Jesus 
Christ, just before returning to the Father, entrusted 
to His disciples in these words, "Go ye into the whole 
world and preach the Gospel to every creature",^ was 
certainly not to terminate with the death of the Apostles, 
but to endure through the medium of their successors 
until the end of time; that is, as long as there should 
be men to be saved by the teaching of the truth. And 
in fact since that day when they "went forth and 
preached everywhere", so that "their sound hath gone 
forth into all the earth and their words unto the ends 
of the world", the Holy Church of God, remembering 
the divine command, has never ceased through the 
centuries continually to send out heralds and ministers 
of the Divine Word to announce the tidings of eternal 
salvation brought to the human race by Jesus Christ. 
Wherefore, during the first three centuries of 
Christianity, when the fury of the persecutions let loose 
from hell seemed as if it would drown the growing 
Church in blood, the Gospel was proclaimed and 
resounded to the furthest limits of the Roman Empire. 
And when peace and Hberty were then given to the 
Church, very great was the progress that she made in 
the apostolate throughout the whole world, especially 
by the aid of men distinguished for zeal and sanctity. 
Gregory the Illuminator enlightened Armenia with the 

1 Mark xvi, 15. 



2 The Popes and the Missions 

light of the Gospel; Victorinus, Styria; Fnimentius, 
Ethiopia; Patrick made a conquest of the Irish for the 
Faith; Augustine, of the English; Columba and 
Palladius, of the Scots: then Clement Willebrord, the 
first Bishop of Utrecht, evangelised Holland; Boniface 
and Ansgar brought to the Church of Jesus Christ the 
peoples of Germany, and Cyril and Methodius the Slavs. 
Extending still further the scope of the apostolate, 
William de Rubruck penetrated with the torch of the 
Gospel amongst the Mongolians; Blessed Gregory the 
Tenth sent missionaries to China, and the sons of St. 
Francis soon afterwards established there a flourishing 
Christian Church, which was subsequently destroyed 
by persecution. 

When the New World was discovered, a crowd of 
apostolic men, amongst whom was prominent the noble 
figure of Bartholorhew Las Casas, the glory of the 
distinguished Dominican Order, devoted themselves to 
the defence and the conversion of the poor natives: 
while St. Francis Xavier, worthy in truth to be com- 
pared to the Apostles, after having worked so 
energetically in India and Japan for the glory of 
God and the salvation of souls, died on the borders 
of China, towards which he had been going, as if opening 
up by his death the way for a new evangelisation of 
(those immense regions where members of so many 
distinguished religious Orders and missionary Congrega- 
tions, eager to propagate the faith, were to exercise the 
apostolate amidst many vicissitudes. 

Finally, Australia, the latest discovered continent, 
and the interior of Africa, recently explored with great 
boldness and persistence, received messengers of the 
Christian faith; and now there is no island in the vast 
Pacific Ocean so remote that it has not experienced the 
zealous activity of Our missionaries, amongst whom 
have been many who, whilst endeavouring to secure the 
salvation of their brethren, following the example of 



The Popes and the Missions 3 

the Apostles, reached the highest degree of sanctity, and 
not a few who, as martyrs, sealed their apostolate with 
the shedding of their blood. 

Considering, then, the numerous and heavy labours 
undertaken by Our brethren for the propagation of the 
faith, all their efforts, the proofs of their undaunted 
courage. We may well wonder at the numberless 
heathen who are still sitting in the shadows of death; 
for, according to recent statistics, their number amounts 
to a thousand million. 

Taking, therefore, compassion on the sad fate of this 
multitude of souls, and as it has always been Our 
nearest duty to extend to them the benefits of divine 
redemption, it is also with glad and grateful feelings 
that We watch the movement, inspired by the Holy 
Ghost, that is taking place throughout the Catholic 
world, for promoting and developing the missions. It 
is therefore to urge on and further this movement — a 
duty in keeping with Our office and Our dearest wishes 
— that, after fervently imploring the Lord for light and 
assistance. We address this letter to you, Venerable 
Brethren, to exhort you, your clergy and your flocks, 
and to remind you how you can best serve this important 
cause. 

The Heads of the Missions 

This letter is first of all addressed to those who, either 
as Bishops or as Vicars or Prefects Apostolic, have 
been placed at the head of the missions. As it is their 
first and direct care to propagate the faith, it is in them 
that the Church places her main hopes for expansion. 
We know their apostolic zeal, We know their difficulties 
and trials, especially during recent years, in their efforts 
not only to remain at their posts but also to extend the 
kingdom of God. It is because We know their loyalty 
to, and their love for, the Apostolic See, that We express 
Our feelings to them as a father does to his sons. 



4 The Popes and the Missions 

Let them, therefore, further the best interests of their 
priests and other assistants by word and deed, encourage 
and urge them to better things. Whoever works in the 
Lord's vineyard, in whatever capacity, should be made 
to feel that the mission is ruled by a father, watchful, 
diligent and full of charity, keenly interested in all 
and everything, rejoicing in their success, sympathetic 
in their trials, encouraging and helpful in their good 
efforts and undertakings, and looking upon everything 
that concerns them as concerning himself. 

The condition and fate of the missions depend on their 
government, and the worst that could befall them would 
be to be ruled by men cither incapable or unfit for the 
task. Whoever leaves his country, his nearest and 
dearest, to propagate the Christian name, often exposes 
himself to long and dangerous journeys, joyfully ready 
to suffer the greatest trials in order to gather in a harvest 
of souls to Christ. If such men come under diligent 
rulers, from whose prudence and charity they may 
benefit in all things, their works will no doubt bear 
fruit; if otherwise, it is much to be feared that, growing 
gradually tired of work and discomforts, they will finally 
give way to discouragement and disgust. 

Their Duties to non-Christians 

Then again, the first care of one who is at the head 
of a mission is to extend the work and bring it to 
completion. For, as the whole country which lies 
within the limits of his mission is entrusted to his care, 
he must seek to work out the salvation of all those 
who inhabit that country. Hence, when he has con- 
verted a few thousands out of an extensive population, 
he should not draw the line there and rest contented. 
He must, without question, foster, bring up and protect 
those whom Jesus Christ has begotten; nor should he 
allow them to drift and perish. But let him not imagine 
that he has done his duty unless he strives with all his 



The Popes and the Missions 5 

strength and without flagging to bring Christian truth 
and Hfe within the reach of aii. the others, whose 
number is infinitely greater. 

In order, then, that the preaching of the Gospel should * 
come within everyone's hearing more successfully and 
quickly, he will find it useful to found other mission 
stations and centres, which will grow into so many seats 
of new Vicariates and Prefectures, into which the mission 
should be divided as soon as opportunities allow. 

The Division of Dioceses 

Here We must give due praise to all those Vicars 
Apostolic who lay new foundations for the future king- 
dom of God in the way We have outlined: and when 
for this purpose they have lacked a supply of men 
belonging to their own Order, they have never hesitated 
to call in and accept the assistance of other religious 
institutions. 

On the other hand, how reprehensible would be the 
conduct of one who should look upon that portion of 
the Lord's field which has been assigned to him, as his 
own property, which no one else should dare to touch. 
How severe would God's justice not be on him, 
especially if — as has happened too often — a small num- 
ber of Christians were lost in the midst of a great number 
of heathens, and if he should refuse to accept proffered 
assistance to instruct them, though he and his clergy 
are unable to cope with the work. 

The head of a Catholic mission, for whom God's glory 
and the salvation of souls are nearest to his heart, calls 
in assistants, if need be, from everywhere to help him in 
his holy task, not caring whether they belong to another 
nation or to a different religious Order so long as Christ 
is preached. 2 He makes use not only of men, but of ^ 
nuns as well, for his schools, orphanages, hospitals. 



2 Philippians i, i8. 



6 The Popes and the Missions 

hostels and other charitable institutions, which he knows 
are, with God's help, endowed with an extraordinary 
power to extend our faith. 

Union 

For all this, an efficient head of a mission does not 
lock himself up within his own limits, as though any 
other interests outside these were foreign to him; but 
under the impulse of Christ's charity. Whose glory is 
his dearest interest, he tries to keep in touch and foster 
friendship with his neighbouring colleagues. As a 
matter of fact, there are many interests common to the 
whole country, which obviously can only be negotiated 
in common. Besides this it would be to the greatest 
profit of the missions were the various heads to gather 
at stated times for discussion and mutual encouragement. 

A Native Qergy 

k. Lastly, the main care of those who rule the missions, 
should be to raise and train a clergy from amidst the 
nations among which they dwell, for on this are founded 
the best hopes for the Church of the future. Linked 
to his compatriots as he is by the bonds of origin, 
character, feelings and inclinations, the indigenous priest 
possesses exceptional opportunities for introducing the 
faith to their minds, and is endowed with powers of 
persuasion far superior to those of any other man. It 
thus frequently happens that he has access where a 
foreign priest could not set foot. 

But to obtain the expected results, it is absolutely 

^ necessary to mould and build up an indigenous clergy 
in a way that is satisfactory. A raw and unfinished 
preparation, such as will allow one to be ordained, will 
not do by any means; the training should on the contrary 
be full, adequate in extent of studies and length of years, 
such as is given to priests of civilised nations. Nor 
should the indigenous priest be trained for the sole 



The Popes and the Missions 7 

purpose of assisting foreign missionaries in a subordinate 
ministry, but he must be fitted for his divine task and 
rendered able one day to undertake with credit the 
administration of his own people. Indeed, as the 
Catholic Church of God is foreign to no nation, so 
should every nation yield its own sacred ministers and 
follow them as teachers of the divine law and spiritual 
leaders. 

Wherever, therefore, there exists an indigenous clergy, 
adequate in numbers and in training, and worthy of 
its vocation, there the missionary's work must be con- 
sidered to have been brought to a happy close; there 
the Church is founded. And if ever persecution 
threatened her existence, her roots and foundations 
would have struck too deep to give any chance of success 
to hostile attacks. 

The Apostolic See has always urged the heads of the 
missions to look upon this grave duty with the care 
it deserves, and to carry it out diligently; and of this 
the colleges recently erected in Rome to train priests 
of foreign nations, chiefly of the Eastern rite, afford clear 
evidence. 

Yet, notwithstanding the Roman Pontiff's insistence, 
it is sad to think that there are still countries where the 
Catholic faith has been preached for several centuries, 
but where you will find no indigenous clergy, except 
of an inferior kind; sad to think that there are nations 
who have fully seen the light of the Gospel, have reached 
such a degree of civilisation as to possess men dis- 
tinguished in every department of secular knowledge; 
who for many centuries have come under the salutary 
influence of the Gospel and the Church, and have yet 
been able to yield neither Bishops to rule them, nor 
priests to direct them. Therefore, to all appearances, 
the methods used in various places to train a clergy 
for the missions have up to now been inadequate and 
faulty. 



8 The Popes and the Missions 

In order to remove this inadequacy, We order the 
Sacred Congregation of the Propagation of Faith to 
establish, wherever there is a need, seminaries for the 
benefit of each country and several dioceses simultane- 
ously, or to see to their foundation or to their proper 
management; and We enjoin on the Congregation to be 
particularly careful to watch the growth of the new 
clergy in Vicariates and other missions. 

Forget your own Country 

And now We address you. Beloved Sons, tillers of 
the Lord's vineyard, in whose hands are directly placed 
the salvation of souls and the propagation of Christian 
wisdom. 

From the outset ever hold before your eyes the 
excellence and greatness of the dignity which informs 
your work. It is a divine task, and one infinitely 
remote from the meanness of human interests, to light 
the torch to those sitting in the shadows of death, and 
to open the gate of heaven to those who rush to their 
destruction. Holding, therefore, that these words of the 
Lord are addressed to each one of you: "Forget your 
people and your father's house",' remember then that 
you are not to propagate the kingdom of men, but 
that of Christ; that you are not to enrol citizens into any 
^ country of this world, but that of the next. 

It would be regrettable indeed, were any of the 
missionaries to be so forgetful of their dignity as to 
think more of their earthly than of their heavenly 
country, and were too much bent upon extending its 
earthly glory and power. This would indeed be a plague 
most deadly to their apostleship, which would kill in 
the preacher of the Gospel every activity for the love 
of souls, and would undermine his authority among the 
public. However barbarous and savage they be, men 

3 Psalm xliv, ii. 



The Popes and the Missions 9 

easily understand what it is that the missionary expects 
from them, and they are very shrewd in detecting 
whether any of his expectations is at variance with 
their own spiritual advantage. Suppose him then to be 
in any way preoccupied with worldly interests, and, 
instead of acting in everything like an apostolic man, 
to appear to further the interests of his own country, 
people will at once suspect his intentions, and may be 
led to believe that the Christian religion is the exclusive 
property of some foreign nation; that adhesion to this 
religion implies submission to a foreign country and 
the loss of one's own national dignity. 

Some of the mission accounts published recently 
make very painful reading for Us, as We find therein 
an anxiety not so much to extend the kingdom of God 
as to increase the power of the missionary's own country. 
We are surprised that it does not occur to the writers 
to what extent the mind of the heathen is in danger 
of being thus repelled from religion. Not in this way 
does the Catholic missionary act who is worthy of the 
name; but, bearing perpetually in mind that he is the 
ambassador not of his own country but of Christ, he 
should so comport himself that everyone can recognise 
in him a minister of a religion which embraces all men 
who adore God in spirit and truth, is a stranger to no 
nation, and "where there is neither Gentile nor Jew, 
circumcision nor uncircumcision. Barbarian nor 
Scythian, bond nor free. But Christ is all and in all."* 

Another danger against which the missionary must 
carefully guard is that of seeking other profits than those 
of souls. But of this We need not say more. For how 
is a man to seek only the glory of God as he should, 
and be ready to sacrifice his goods and his life to further 
that glory by calling others to wisdom, if he is actuated 
by the desire of lucre? Moreover, such a man would 

4 Col. iii. II. 



10 The Popes and the Missions 

lose much of his authority over the Gentiles chiefly, 
as is natural, if the desire of acquisition should have 
degenerated into the vice of avarice; there is no stain 
more contemptible in the eyes of men and more 
unworthy of the kingdom of God. The good preacher of 
the Gospel will therefore in this matter also follow the 
Apostle of the Gentiles, who exhorted Timothy, though 
not him alone: "Having food and wherewith to be 
covered, with these we are content". ^ And the Apostle 
sometimes carried his love of abstention so far as to 
support himself with his own work, occupied as he was 
with the cares of onerous duties. 

Missionary Training 

It is understood that, before undertaking his apostolic 
work, the missionary must undergo a thorough training, 
though it is sometimes objected that there is no need 
of so much learning for one who has to announce Christ 
to uncivilised nations. It is true that spiritual accom- 
plishments are better adapted to the work of the salva- 
tion of souls than any literary equipment; yet, if any- 
one should be lacking in this, he will often find that 
his deficiency is a hindrance to the successful exercise 
of his holy ministry. He is often without a library, 
and far from learned men whom he could consult, yet 
he must answer questions, settle objections against the 
faith, and elucidate difficulties of an abstruse nature. 
The greater the missionary's erudition, the greater the 
esteem in which he will be held, chiefly if he dwells 
among a nation which values intellectual accomplish- 
ments. In all this it would be regrettable if the ministers 
of truth were overtaken by the ministers of error. 

Hence, whilst ecclesiastical students, whom God 
should call, are trained for their apostolic expeditions, 
they must by all means be initiated into every depart- 

5 Tim. iv, 8. 



The Popes and ike Missions ii 

ment of knowledge, profane as well as sacred. This is 
what We wish to be done, as is proper, in the Pontifical 
Urban College for the Propagation of the Faith: and 
We order that the college shall organise its own special 
staff for the teaching of the science of the missions. 

Native Languages 

One of the chief items in the missionary's equipment 
is clearly the language of the people to whose salvation 
he is destined to devote himself. He should not rest 
satisfied with a superficial knowledge, but it should be 
thorough enough for a fluent and elegant command. 
The missionary is at the service of all, the uneducated 
as well as the learned, and he ought to know what power 
a perfect command of the language gives to gain a 
sympathetic hearing from a crowd. Above all, a diligent 
missionary will not leave the duty of explaining 
Christian doctrine to each catechist, but must reserve 
this department to himself, not only as his own, but ^ 
as the most important portion of his task; for no other 
reason was he sent by God save to preach the Gospel. 

He will sometimes be called upon, as the ambassador 
and interpreter of our holy religion, to approach 
influential men, or to address an educated body: how 
will he then preserve his dignity, if he cannot express 
himself in their own native language? 

This is what We have had particularly in view in 
founding a special house of studies in Rome for the 
spread of the Catholic name in the East, so that those 
who are preparing themselves for the apostolate in those 
countries may receive a serious grounding in the know- 
ledge of Oriental languages and customs. As this 
institute seems to Us to offer exceptional opportunities. 
We hasten to exhort all the superiors of religious Orders 
whose work lies in the East to send there their recruits 
for the missions, so that they may avail themselves of 
its training. 



12 The Popes and the Missions 

Missionary Virtues 

But to one who wishes to qualify himself for apostolic 
work, there is one thing that he must acquire before 
everything else, as being of the highest importance: it 
is, as We have said, sanctity of life. For whoever 
preaches God must be a man of God; whoever preaches 
hatred of sin must himself hate sin. It is chiefly among 
the Gentiles, who are led by sense more than by reason, 
that preaching by deeds is more efficient than by words. 
Granted, therefore, that the missionary be endowed 
with every quality of head and heart, versed in sciences, 
accomplished in every department of culture; if his 
accomplishments are not supported by innocence of 
life, they will be powerless instruments for the conversion 
of the people — nay more, they may become harmful to 
himself and to others. 

Let him, therefore, be an example of humility, 
obedience, chastity, and especially of piety, prayer and 
constant union with God, before Whom he must fervently 
plead for souls. The better united he is with God, the 
greater will be his share in divine grace and assistance. 
Let him heed the Apostle's counsel: "Put ye on there- 
fore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, the bowels 
of mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, patience".' 
It is by these virtues that truth finds an easy and direct 
access to souls, and that all obstacles are removed; 
there is no obstinacy of will that can resist them. Hence 
a missionary who like Jesus Christ is burning with 
charity and who is read,y to number among the sons of 
God the most backward Gentiles, as the children of 
redemption by the divine blood, is neither irritated by 
their roughness nor roused by their moral perversity; 
he neither despises nor scorns them; he does not treat 
them harshly or bitterly, but he will strive to attract 
them by all the good offices of Christian charity, to 

6 Col. iii, 12. 



The Popes and the Missions 13 

(Jraw them all into the embrace of Christ, the good 
Shepherd. 

Holy Scripture gives on this subject food for medita- 
tion: "0 how good and sweet is Thy spirit, O Lord, in 
all things ! And therefore Thou chastisest them that err, 
by little and little: and admonishest them, and 
speakest to them concerning the things wherein they 
offend, that leaving their wickedness, they may believe 
in Thee, Lord . . . But Thou, being master of power, 
judgest with tranquillity.'"^ 

What difficulties, annoyances and trials could make 
such an ambassador of Christ swerve from his resolve? 
None whatever: dear to God as must be one who has 
set himself such a sublime task, he will bravely face 
all hardships and difficulties, work, insults, poverty, 
hunger, and even death however cruel, as long as he can 
snatch a soul from the mouth of hell. 

Thus resolved and inspired, following in the footsteps 
of Christ the Lord and of the Apostles, the missionary 
will confidently apply himself to his task, placing, how- 
ever, the full measure of his confidence in God. It is, as 
We have said, a work altogether divine to propagate 
Christian wisdom, for God alone can pierce through to 
the soul, to light up the mind with the glare of truth, 
warm the will in the flame of virtue, and endow man 
with the strength to follow and obey what he knows to 
be good and true. That is why, unless God stands by 
His minister, his efforts are vain. Let him nevertheless 
strain every nerve to carry out his resolve, relying on 
the assistance of divine grace, which never fails him 
who prays. 

Here we must not omit to mention the women, who 
ever since the birth of the Christian religion have lent 
their valuable assistance and given unstinted service to 
the preachers of the Gospel. Worthy of special mention 



7 Wisdom xii, i, 2, 18. 
B 



14 The Popes and the Missions 

and praise are those virgins who have consecrated them- 
selves to God and gone to the missions in great numbers 
to devote themselves to the education of children, and 
to numerous works of mercy and charity; We desire that 
this commendation of their services may stir up their 
courage and enthusiasm in the service of Holy Church. 
Let them be convinced, however, that the more they 
strive towards spiritual perfection, so much the more 
will their work yield an abundance of results. 

The Support of the Missions 

It is gratifying to address all those who, by a special 
favour of the merciful God, are in possession of the 
true faith, and share in its innumerable benefits. They 
should, first of all, consider by what sacred obligations 
they are bound to lend their support to the missions 
-<f among infidels. "For (God) gave to every one of them 
commandment concerning his neighbour, "» which 
commandment is all the more urgent in so far as our 
neighbour is under a greater necessity. Who, in fact, 
stands in greater need of our brotherly assistance than 
the Gentile races which, in ignorance of God, are 
enslaved to blind and unbridled instincts, and live under 
th ^awlul servitude of the ,£YiLone? Whoever, therefore, 
contributes in so far as in him lies to enlightening them, 
chiefly by helping the missionaries, performs his duty 
in a work of the greatest moment, and acquits himself 
in a most acceptable manner of the debt of gratitude he 
owes to God for the grace of his own faith. 

The Support of Prayers 

Support can be given to the missions in three different 
ways, each answering the persistent requests of the 
missionaries themselves. The first, which is within 
everybody's reach, is to invoke God's protection. Again 

8 Eccl. xvii, 12. 



The Popes and the Missions 15 

and again have We said that missionary undertakings 
are dry and barren unless made fruitful by divine grace, 
on St. Paul's own testimony: "I have planted, Apollo 
watered: but God gave the increase". To the acquisition 
of this grace there is but one way open, persevering and 
humble prayer; for, as Our Lord says : "Concerning any- 
thing whatsoever they shall ask, it shall be done to them 
by My Father".' If ever such prayers remain 
unanswered, it cannot be so in this cause, than which 
there is none more sublime and more agreeable to God. 

As Moses, standing on the hill, raised his arms to 
secure divine assistance to the Israelites battling with 
Amalec, so must all Christians give the assistance of their 
fervent prayers to the preachers of the Gospel exerting 
themselves in the Lord's vineyard. 

As the Apostleship of Prayer has been founded 
particularly for the better performance of this duty, We 
urgently recommend it to all the faithful. None should 
fail to associate himself with it all, striving to take their 
share in the apostolic work, if not by material assistance, 
at least by their moral support. 

The Recruitment of Missionaries 

Then, again. We must remedy the scarcity of mission- 
aries. Great as it was, it has become appalling during 
the war, so much so that many portions of the Lord's 
vineyard have lost their labourers. It is for this that 
we make a special appeal. Venerable Brethren, to your 
devoted activities. You will do a deed most consonant 
with your love for your religion if, among your clergy 
and in your diocesan seminary, you carefully nurse 
the seeds of apostleship which you may discover in 
them. Do not be misled by appearances or moved by 
earthly reasons, as though the gift to the foreign missions 
were the loss to your diocese. Instead of one priest 

9 Matt, xvili, 19. 



l6 The Popes and the Missions 

you might send abroad, God will raise several priests 
to do useful work at home. 

The Selection of Missionaries 

As to those who govern religious Orders and Congrega- 
tions devoted to the missions. We pray and request 
them to destine to such an important work none but the 
choicest among their subjects; those who stand foremost 
for the innocence of their lives, the fervour of their 
piety and their zeal for souls. Then again, when 
superiors know that their missionaries have successfully 
accomplished their task and converted some nation from 
unhallowed superstition to the Christian faith, and 
have founded there a Church with sufficient prospects, 
they should transfer them, as Christ's forlorn hope, to 
some other nation to snatch it from Satan's grasp, 
willingly leaving to others whatever they have acquired 
for Christ, that they may carry on their work and 
improve it. Having in this way gathered, so to say, a 
rich harvest of souls, they will receive rich rewards of 
divine goodness for the institutions to which they belong. 

Support by Alms 

Lastly, abundant resources are needed to keep up the 
missions, and their needs have greatly increased since 
the war by the loss of so many schools, hospitals, hostels 
and other free sources of income. We here appeal to 
all the faithful to exercise their liberality according to 
their means. For "he that hath the substance of this 
world and shall see his brother in need and shall shut 
up his bowels from him : how doth the charity of God 
abide in him?"io Thus speaks John the Apostle about 
those who suffer from material want. But how much 
more sacred becomes the obligation of the law of charity 
in this matter where it is a question not only of relieving 

10 I John iii, 17. 



The Popes and the Missions ly 

the poverty, destitution and other miseries of an infinite 
multitude of men, but also and chiefly of reconquering 
from Satan's proud dominion to the liberty of the 
children of God an incalculable number of souls. Hence 
We wish Catholics liberally to assist those holy works 
organised for the support of the missions. 

The Pontifical Mission Aid Societies 

The first is known as the Propagation of the Faith, so 
often praised by Our predecessors; and to increase its 
usefulness in future, We order the Sacred Congregation 
to devote special attention to the propagation of the 
Christian faith. It must supply great resources to 
support missions already founded and those about to 
be established, but We are confident that the Catholic 
world will not allow its own to suffer from want in the 
dissemination of truth, when others are in abundance 
who work for the dissemination of error. 

The second work We strongly recommend is that of 
the Holy Childhood, whose task it is to see that baptism 
is administered to the dying children of the faithful. 
This work is the more commendable as it is open to 
the membership of children, who may thus learn to 
appreciate the gift of faith and to contribute their help 
to confer it on others. 

Nor must We omit to mention the Work of Saint Peter 
which provides for the education and the upkeep of the 
indigenous clergy of the missions. 

We wish to call your careful attention to the regulation 
of Our predecessor Leo XIH, who stipulated that on 
the feast of the Epiphany a collection should be made 
in all the churches of the world "to redeem African 
slaves", and that the collection should be sent to the 
Sacred Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith. 

But that Our wishes may be carried out with better 
security and success, you must certainly, Venerable 
Brethren, direct, so to say, the training of your clergy 



i8 The Popes and the Missions 

towards the object of the missions. The faithful, as a 
rule, are willing and love to support apostolic men; but 
you must make a wise use of this inclination, for the 
great benefit of the missions. 

Know, therefore, that it is Our wish that in all 
Catholic dioceses of the world there shall be founded 
what We would call a Missionary Union of the Clergy, to 
be placed under the authority of the Sacred Congregation 
of the Propagation of Faith, to which We have given all 
necessary authority. Recently founded in Italy, it has 
rapidly spread to other countries; and as it has flourished 
with Our support, We have richly endowed it with 
pontifical indulgences. And for good reasons, for under 
its influence the activities of the clergy are excellently 
directed, not only to the work of inspiring the faithful 
with a zeal for souls, but also to carry on the various 
institutions which the Apostolic See has patronised for 
the benefit of the missions. 

This, Venerable Brethren, is what We have felt com- 
pelled to write to you about the propagation of the 
Catholic faith throughout the world. If, then, everyone 
acquits himself of his task as it behoves him, the mission- 
aries abroad and the faithful at home, We may cherish 
the fond hope of seeing the sacred missions reviving from 
the wounds and the ruin of the war. Whilst the Lord's 
voice urges Us as it once urged Peter: "Launch out 
into the deep"," the fire of paternal charity presses Us 
to drive into the Lord's embrace innumerable men. The 
Church is ever fed and strengthened by the Spirit of 
God; and the efforts of those apostolic men who have 
laboured and are still labouring for her extension cannot 
be without their fruits. Roused by their example, many 
will henceforth arise who, supported by the piety and 
the munificence of the faithful, will gather unto Christ 
a cheerful harvest of souls. 

11 Luke V, 4. 



The Popes and the Missions 19 

May the great Mother of God, the Queen of the 
Apostles, bless Our common wishes by obtaining for the 
preachers of the Gospel the graces of the Holy Ghost: 
under His auspices, and as a proof of Our friendship. 
We most lovingly impart to you, Venerable Brethren, 
your clergy and your people, the Apostolic Benediction. 



RERUM ECCLESIy^ 

ON PROMOTING THE SACRED MISSIONS 

Encyclical Letter of Ptus XI, February 28th, igzd 

TN reviewing attentively the history of the Church, one 
cannot fail to see how from the very first ages of 
Christianity the especial care and solicitude of the 
Roman Pontiffs has been directed to the end that they, 
undeterred by difficulties and obstacles, might impart 
the light of the gospel and the benefits of Christian 
culture and civilization to the peoples sitting in darkness 
and in the shadow of death. For the Church has no 
other reason for existence than, by enlarging the King- 
dom of Christ throughout the world, to make all men 
participate in His salutary redemption. And whoever, 
by divine commission, takes the place on earth of Jesus 
Christ, the Chief Shepherd, far from being able to rest 
content with simply guarding and protecting the Lord's 
flock which has been confided to him to rule, on the 
contrary, fails in his especial duty and obligation if he 
does not strive, with all his strength, to win over and to 
join to Christ all those who are still outside the fold. 

Now it is well known that Our predecessors so carried 
out at all times the divine commission wherewith they 
were charged, of teaching and baptising all nations, that 
priests sent by them — of whom the Church has publicly 
venerated not a few, either for holiness of life or because 
they courageously suffered martyrdom — zealously strove 
with varying results to enlighten Europe and, later on, 
unknown lands with our faith. We say, "with varying 
results" for it sometimes happened that the missionaries, 
after labouring with httle fruit, were either put to death 

20 



The Popes and the Missions 2i 

or driven out. As a result, the field which they had 
begun to cultivate, whether just emerging from wilder- 
ness or already converted into a garden, when left to 
itself was once more gradually overgrown with thorns 
and briars. 

There is no doubt that this work was greatly aided 
by the Apostolic Letter which Our predecessor of happy 
memory addressed to the Bishops of the world on 
November 30th, 1919, "On the Propagation of the 
Catholic Faith Throughout the World"; because in that 
letter, while the Pontiff stimulated the diligence and 
the zeal of all the Bishops procuring help, he pointed out 
to the Apostolic Vicars and Prefects with most wise 
advice, the obstacles to be avoided and the methods to 
be followed by their clergy in order to render more 
fruitful the exercise of their sacred apostolate. 

The Missionary Exhibition and Museum 

As to Ourselves, Venerable Brethren, you well know 
that from the very beginning of Our pontificate. We 
determined to leave nothing undone that might day by 
day extend through apostolic preachers the light of the 
gospel and thus smooth the way to salvation for heathen 
nations. It seems to Us that two special objectives ought 
to be aimed at, both of which are not only opportune 
but even necessary, and intimately connected with each 
other; namely, that a much larger number of missionaries 
well trained in the various departments of knowledge 
be sent forth into the boundless regions that are still 
deprived of the Christian religion, and that the faithful 
may understand with what zeal, and with what 
constancy in prayer, and finally with what generosity, 
they should co-operate in a work so holy and so fruitful. 

This is the object that We had in view when We 
ordered that a missionary exhibition be held within Our 
own Vatican grounds. We must give thanks to God 
that, as We have heard, many young hearts, at the sight 



22 The Popes and the Missions 

of these evidences of both divine grace and human great- 
ness and nobility received their first call to the mission- 
ary life. So great was the admiration for the mission- 
aries on the part of those who visited the exhibition that 
We have every reason to believe that the latter will not 
be without abiding fruit. That the most weighty lessons, 
to which this exhibition testified with silent eloquence, 
may not be forgotten. We have ordered, as perhaps 
you already know, that a museum be established wherein 
there may be exhibited in the best possible way the 
more noteworthy mission objects. 

This museum will be in Our Lateran Palace, in that 
place whence, after peace had been given to the Church, 
so many apostolic men celebrated for holiness of life 
and zeal for religion were, century after century, sent 
forth by Our predecessors into those regions which 
seemed already white for the harvest. Thus all officials 
in the army of missionaries, and the privates, too, so to 
speak, who will visit this museum, after having com- 
pared notes on their respective missions, will draw from 
it inspiration for even better and greater projects. All 
the faithful who visit it will. We believe, experience the 
same emotion as did those who attended the original 
Vatican exhibition. 

Meanwhile, that the interest of the faithful in the 
missions, which has already been stimulated, may be 
even further increased, We make our appeal to you, 
Venerable Brethren, imploring your help. And if your 
help may rightly be employed in any undertaking, the 
dignity of your office, as well as your filial affection 
for Us, will not only prevent you from holding back 
but will impel you at once to employ it here particu- 
larly and employ it with zeal and diligence. For Our 
part, as long as Divine Providence shall continue Us 
in life, this duty of Our apostolic office shall keep us 
always solicitous because, after pondering on the fact 
that the pagans still number ahnost a billion. We have 



The Popes and the Missions 23 

no peace in our spirit^ and We seem to hear sounding in 
•Our ears the words, "Cry; cease not; lift up thy voice 
like a trumpet". 2 

The Necessity of the Apostolate 

There is no need to insist how foreign it is to the virtue 
of charity, which embraces God and all men, for those 
who belong to the fold of Christ not to have a care 
for the rest who are unhappily straying outside the fold. 
Surely the duty of charity that binds us to God demands 
not only that we strive to increase with all our power 
the number of those who know and adore Him in spirit 
and in truth^ but also that we bring under the rule of 
the most amiable Saviour as many as possible, in order 
that from day to day, "the profit in His blood"* may 
be more fruitful, and that we may likewise render our- 
selves more acceptable to Him to Whom nothing can be 
more acceptable than that men be saved and come to 
a knowledge of the truth. ^ 

Since Jesus Christ proclaimed that the special mark 
of His disciples would be that they loved one another* 
can we vouchsafe to our neighbours a greater or more 
signal charity than that of having them withdrawn from 
the darkness of superstition, and instructed in the true 
faith of Christ? Nay, this surpasses any other works or 
testimonials of charity as the mind surpasses the body, 
as heaven, earth; as eternity, time; and everyone 
who exercises this work of charity to the best of his 
ability shows that he esteems the gift of the faith as 
much as it is meet and just that he should esteem it, 
and moreover, he manifests his gratitude towards the 
goodness of God by sharing with the poor pagans this 

1 II Cor. xiii, 11. 

2 Isaias Iviii, i. 

3 John iv, 24. 

4 Ps. xxix, 10. 

5 I Tim. li, 4. 

6 John xiii, 35; xv, 12. 



24 The Popes and the Missions 

same gift, the most precious of all, and with this gift 
the others that go with it, or that are united to it. And 
if none of the faithful can claim exemption from this 
duty, can the clergy who by their moral election and 
vocation participate in the priesthood and apostolate 
of Jesus Christ; and can you. Venerable Brethren, claim 
exemption who, adorned with the fullness of the priest- 
hood, are divinely constituted pastors, each in his own 
diocese, of the clergy and the Christian people? For 
We read that Christ enjoined not only Peter, whose chair 
We occupy, but all the apostles, whose successors you 
are: "Go ye into the whole world, and preach the 
gospel to every creature' '.^ it is evident from this that 
the responsibility of propagating the faith belongs to 
Us, on condition that you must unhesitatingly share 
the work with Us and help Us as much as your own 
particular pastoral -^duties will permit. Accordingly do 
not consider it irksome. Venerable Brethren, to comply 
as good sons, with Our exhortations, for from Us God 
shall one day demand a strict accounting of this great 
obligation. 

The Contribution of Prayer 

First of all, both by the spoken and the written 
word, strive to have introduced and gradually to extend 
the pious custom of asking "the Lord of the harvest that 
He send forth labourers into His harvest",* and of 
imploring the divine light and grace for the heathens. 
We insist on the custom and the regular practice, for it 
is plain to all that this will have more efficacy with the 
Divine mercy than prayer said once or only occasionally. 
Even though the missionaries labour zealously, though 
they work and toil and even lay down their lives in 
leading the pagans to the Catholic religion, though they 



7 Mark xvi, 15. 

8 Math, ix, 38. 



The Popes and the Missions 25 

employ all industry and diligence and all human means, 
still all this will be of no avail, all their efforts will go 
for naught, unless God touches the hearts of the pagans 
to soften them and to draw them to Him. 

Now it is easy to see that everyone has the opportunity 
to pray, and so to supply this help, the very nourishment 
of the missions, is within this power of all. For this 
reason, you will do a thing conformable to Our desire 
and in keeping with the mind and sentiments of the 
faithful if you order, for example, that some special 
prayer for the missions and for the conversion of the 
heathens to the true faith be added to the rosary of the 
Blessed Virgin, and to other such prayers as are 
customarily recited in the parish churches and in other 
churches, and let the children and particularly religious 
Orders of women be invited and encouraged to this end. 
We desire namely, that in all institutions and orphan 
asylums, in parochial schools, in colleges and in religious 
houses of women, there should ascend to Heaven, every 
day, a prayer that the Divine mercy may descend upon 
so many unhappy beings and upon such populous pagan 
nations. What can the Heavenly Father refuse to grant 
to the innocent and chaste? 

Moreover, such a practice leads Us to hope that the 
tender-hearted young who have been accustomed to 
pray for the eternal salvation of pagans from the moment 
that the flower of charity first began to bud in their 
young hearts may with the help of God, receive a voca- 
tion for the apostolate; a vocation, which, if cultivated 
with care, may perhaps in time supply capable workers 
for the missionary field. 

Missionary Vocations 

Let us touch in passing on a subject. Venerable 
Brethren, that is worthy of your most attentive considera- 
tion. No one is ignorant of the grave damage done to 
the propagation of the faith by the recent war, when 



26 The Popes and ike Missions 

some missionaries, recalled to their own countries, fell 
in the terrible conflict, while others, being removed from 
the field of their activities, had to leave their missionary 
work undone; damages and losses that have had, and 
still have, to be made good, not only to bring back the 
missions to the state in which they were before the war, 
but also to ensure further progress. 

Moreover, whether we regard the vast territories 
which are still unopened to Christian civilisation, or the 
immense number of those who are still deprived of the 
fruits of the redemption, or the necessities and difficulties 
which beset and impede the missionaries, through lack 
of numbers, it is necessary that the Bishops and the 
faithful co-operate in order that the number of Christ's 
Ambassadors may increase and be multiplied. 

If there be, in any of your dioceses, any young men 
or ecclesiastical students or priests who seem called to 
this most excellent apostolate, far from putting any 
difficulties in their way, encourage them in their 
ambitions and inclinations, by your favour and 
authority. And although you are permitted to give their 
vocations a fair trial to see if they are of God,' still if 
you are convinced that their most salutary resolution 
springs from and is fostered by Divine inspiration, 
neither scarcity of clergy, nor any need of the diocese 
ought to discourage you or keep you from giving your 
consent, since your faithful have at hand, so to speak, 
the helps to salvation, and are less far removed from 
salvation than are the heathens, particularly those who 
are still savages and barbarians. If the occasion arises, 
therefore, suffer patiently the loss of one of your clergy 
for the love of Christ and of souls, if indeed it can be 
called a loss, since if you deprive yourself of a co- 
labourer and a sharer of your toils, the Divine Founder 
of the Church will surely supply the deficiency, by 

9 I John iv, I. 



The Popes and the Missions 27 

showering more abundant blessings on the diocese and 
by awakening new vocations to the sacred ministry. 

Missionary Union of the Qergy 

Nevertheless, in order that this work may be linked 
up with the other cares of your pastoral office, see to 
it that the Missionary Union of the Clergy be established 
in your diocese, or, if it has been already established, 
encourage it to renewed activity by your advice, exhorta- 
tion and authority. This Union, which was provi- 
dentially founded eight years ago by Our immediate 
predecessor, was enriched with numerous indulgences 
and was blessed under the authorisation of the Sacred 
Congregation of the Council; in these last years, it has 
spread over many dioceses of the Catholic world. We 
Ourselves have honoured it more than once with indica- 
tions of Our pontifical benevolence. All the priests who 
belong to this Missionary Union, and all ecclesiastical 
students, according to their status, pray particularly 
in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and encourage others 
to pray, for the gift of faith for the numberless multitude 
of pagans. Everywhere and on every possible occasion 
they preach to the people concerning the apostolate to 
be carried on among the pagans, or they see to it that, 
from time to time on certain days, very profitable confer- 
ences on mission work are held. They spread mission 
literature, and whenever they discover anyone giving 
signs of a vocation to mission work, they direct him to 
an institution where he may receive his preparation. 
In every way possible they encourage and promote, 
within the limits of their own diocese, the work of the 
Propagation of the Faith, and all other works that are 
subsidiary to it. 

You are not unaware, Venerable Brethren, what 
resources the Missionary Union of the Clergy has already 
collected to help this good work, and how much they 
have given signs of collecting in the near future as 



28 The Popes and the Missions 

the generosity of the faithful increases from year to year. 
Some of you, Venerable Brethren, have been patrons 
and sponsors of this Missionary Union in your own 
dioceses; still it is to be desired that from now on there 
be no cleric who is not inflamed with the love of the 
missions. 

The Work of the Propagation of the Faith 

All Christian people should aid, through their gener- 
osity, the work of the Propagation of the Faith which, 
of all the mission organisations, is the principal one. 
With due regard for the glory of the pious woman who 
was the foundress of it, cind of the city of Lyons, We 
have transferred hither the Propagation of the Faith; 
We have re-organised it, and upon it We have, as it 
were, conferred Roman citizenship, and given it charge 
of all the missionary needs that exist at present, or that 
shall exist in the future. 

How many and great these needs are, and how poor, 
for the most part, are the missionaries, was made clearly 
evident by the Vatican missionary exhibition, although 
it may be that many who saw it, dazzled by the 
abundance, novelty and attractiveness of the exhibits, 
did not sufficiently realise this. Be not ashamed there- 
fore. Venerable Brethren, to make yourselves beggars 
for Christ and for the salvation of souls, and, by your 
pen and the eloquence which flows from your heart, 
insist that your people, by their interest and generosity, 
shall multiply and render more abundant the harvest that 
the work of the Propagation of the Faith is gathering 
every year. 

Since therefore none are to be considered so poor and 
naked, none so infirm or hungry or thirsty, as those 
who are deprived of the knowledge and grace of God, 
there is no one who does not see that mercy and a 
divine reward shall not be wanting to him who has 
shown mercy to the most needy of his fellows. 



The Popes and the Missions 29 

The Work of the Holy Childhood and the Work of 
St. Peter 

To the head organisation of the Propagation of the 
Faith there have been added two others, as We have 
said — the organisation of the Holy Childhood, and the 
organisation of St. Peter the Apostle; and since the 
Holy See has made them peculiarly its own, the faithful 
ought to help and maintain them by offering from every 
corner of the globe, in preference to other works which 
have particular aims. 

The object for the former is, as We well know, to 
invite Our children to accustom themselves to set aside 
their own money and offer it particularly to help pay 
for the Catholic upbringing of pagan babies in places 
where they are liable to be abandoned and put to death. 
The object of the latter is by prayers and offerings to 
make it possible for specially selected native ecclesiastical 
students to receive the necessary training in the 
seminaries in preparation for holy orders, in order that 
those of their own race may in time be more easily con- 
verted to Christ or be confirmed in the Faith. To the 
Sodality of St. Peter, as you know. We gave a heavenly 
patron not long ago, St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, who 
while she was a religious on earth made herself respon- 
sible for and as it were adopted a missionary, in order 
to help him, as was her custom, with prayers and 
voluntary or prescribed corporal penances, and above all 
by offering to her Divine Spouse the dreadful sufferings 
of the disease from which she suffered. And We, under 
the Virgin of Lisieux, promise Ourselves more abundant 
fruits. 

In this regard, We rejoice greatly that many Bishops 
have been pleased to number themselves among the 
perpetual patrons of this work, and that seminaries and 
other institutions have undertaken to meet the expenses 
for the maintenance and instruction of some needy 
ecclesiastical student. 



30 The Popes and the Missions 

These two works are usually called, and justly so, 
branches of the principal work. Just as they were 
recommended to the solicitude of the Bishops in the 
Apostolic Letter mentioned above by Our predecessor 
of happy memory, Benedict XV, so We in like manner 
do not cease to recommend them to you, hopeful as We 
are that you will not allow yourselves to be surpassed 
in your generosity by non-Catholics, who with such 
great hberality assist the propagators of their errors. 

Exhortation to Vicars and Prefects Apostolic 

We now turn Our attention to you, Venerable 
Brethren, Beloved Sons, who through your long labours 
and prudent service as missionaries have been found 
worthy to be promoted by ApostoUc authority to 
Vicariates and Prefectures. 

First of all let Us speak of the progress in general that 
the missions have made in the last few years, and which 
is due to your charity and prudence, for which We 
congratulate you and the missionaries who are under 
your charge. What your principal duties are, and what 
you particularly have to guard against in the fulfilment 
of these duties, has been set forth with so much wisdom 
and eloquence by Our immediate predecessor thai 
nothing remains to be added. Yet it has seemed good 
to Us, Venerable Brethren, Beloved Sons, to make 
known to you Our mind on certain points, 

A Native Qergy 

First of all, let us recall to your attention how 
important it is that you build up a native clergy. If 
you do not work with all your might to accomplish this. 
We maintain that your apostolate will be not only 
crippled, but will prove to be an obstacle and an 
impediment for the establishment and organisation of 
the Church in those countries. We are more than willing 



The Popes and the Missions 31 

to admit and recognise that in some places steps have 
been taken to overcome the obstacle by the erection of 
seminaries in which native youths of good promise are 
duly instructed and prepared to ascend to the dignity 
of the priesthood, and to instruct in the Christian faith 
those of their own race; nevertheless we are still at a 
great distance from the desired goal. You remember the 
complaint of Our predecessor, Benedict XV, of happy 
memory, in this matter: 

"It is sad to think that there are still countries where 
tlie Catholic faith has been preached for several centuries, 
but where you will find no indigenous clergy, except 
of an inferior kind; sad to think that there are nations 
who have fully seen the light of the Gospel, have reached 
such a degree of civilisation as to possess men dis- 
tinguished in every department of secular knowledge; 
who for many centuries have come under the salutary 
influence of the Gospel and the Church, and have yet 
been able to yield neither Bishops to rule them, nor 
priests to direct them." 

The Value of a Native Clergy 

Perhaps sufficient attention has never been paid to 
the method whereby the gospel began to be propagated 
and the Church of God to be established all over the 
world. We touched on this subject at the closing of the 
Missionary Exhibition, and recalled the fact that from 
the earliest literary monuments of Christian antiquity 
it is abundantly evident that the clergy placed in charge 
by the apostles, in every new community of the faithful, 
were not brought in from without, but were chosen from 
the natives of the locality. 

From the fact that the Roman Pontiff has entrusted to 
you and to your helpers the task of preaching the 
Christian religion to the pagan nations, you ought not 
to conclude that the role of the native clergy is merely 



3iJ The Popes and the Missions 

one of assisting the missionaries in minor matters, and 
merely following up and completing their work. What 
is the object of these holy missions, We ask, except that 
the Church of Christ may be instituted and established in 
those boundless regions, and by what means shall the 
Church be built up today, among the heathens, except 
from those elements out of which it was formerly built 
up among us; that is, unless it is composed of people 
and clergy and religious Orders of men and women 
recruited from its own region? Why should the native 
clergy be prevented from cultivating their own field 
— that is, from governing their own people? In order 
that you may be able to make more progress in winning 
over to Christ new converts from heathenism, will it not 
help you greatly to be able to leave to the native clergy 
the parts already converted, for them to guard and 
cultivate? Nay, the same native clergy will prove to be 
most useful, more useful in fact that it was ever 
imagined, in extending more widely the Kingdom of 
Christ, "for since the native priest" — to use the words 
of Our predecessor — "by birth and temper, by sentiment 
and by interest, is in touch with his own people, it is 
marvellous how valuable he can be in instilling the faith 
into the minds of his people". He knows, in fact better 
than anyone else, the best methods to follow; and so it 
frequently happens that he will often gain access where 
a foreign priest could never gain entrance. Moreover, 
foreign missionaries, on account of their imperfect know- 
ledge of the language, are frequently prevented from 
expressing themselves. As a result the force and efficacy 
of their preaching are greatly weakened. 

The Possibility of War, or of Political Change 

Suppose owing to war or political upheavals there 
is a change of government in some missionary territory, 
and the request is made or a law passed that the foreign 
missionaries of a certain country must leave : suppose 



The Popes and the Missions 33 

again, a more unlikely case, that the native population, 
raised to a higher degree of culture and political develop- 
ment in order to gain its freedom, wants to drive out 
of their territory all governors, armed forces and mission- 
aries belonging to the occupying foreign power, and that 
it cannot do so otherwise than by force. What then, 
We ask, would be the disaster that would threaten the 
Church throughout all that territory, unless full pro- 
vision has been made for the needs of the Christian 
populace by a network of native priests throughout the 
whole country? 

And moreover, since the saying of Christ likewise 
holds good for the present condition of things, "the 
harvest indeed is great but the labourers are few''.^" 
Europe itself, whence most of the missionaries come, is 
in need of clergy, and this at a time when it is very 
important that, with the help of God, our separated 
Brethren should be led back to the unity of the Church 
and delivered from their errors. It is well known that, 
if at the present time the number of youths called to 
the priestly and religious life is not less than formerly, 
still the number of those who heed the call seems much 
smaller. 

Native Seminaries 

From what I have said. Venerable Brethren and 
Beloved Sons, it follows that it is necessary to supply 
your territories with as many native priests as shall' 
suffice to extend the boundaries of Christianity by them- 
selves alone, and to govern the community of the faith- 
ful of their own nation without having to depend upon 
the help of outside clergy; and in fact in some places, 
as We have said above, seminaries have been erected 
for receiving native students. These seminaries are 
being erected in central points between neighbouring 



10 Math, ix, 37; Luke x, 2. 



34 The Popes and the Missions 

missions which have been entrusted to the same Order 
or Congregation; and to these seminaries Vicars and 
Prefects Apostolic send their chosen men and maintain 
them at their own expense, to receive them back one 
day as ordained priests prepared for the sacred ministry. 
Accordingly, what has been done here and there by 
some. We heartily wish, nay We command, shall like- 
wise be done in the case of the other missions, so that 
no native of promise may be kept away from the priest- 
hood and apostolate, provided he give signs of a true 
vocation. 

Of course, the larger the number of students that you 
select for such formation — and there is need of a great 
number — so much the greater will be the expense. But 
do not be discouraged; confide in the most loving 
Saviour of men, to Whose Providence We must look to 
bring it about that 'the generosity of Catholics may be 
increased so that there may flow into the Holy See the 
means with which to give help more abundantly, and 
to carry out a work so salutary. While each of you 
should try to have as large a number of native students 
as possible, you must further make it your aim to 
fashion and develop in them sacerdotal sanctity and 
such an apostolic spirit and zeal for the salvation of their 
own people that they will be ready to lay down their 
lives for their fellow-tribesmen and fellow-countrymen. 

It is, moreover, most important that at the same time 
these ecclesiastical students shall receive a scientific 
education in sacred and profane studies according to the 
best method and in courses that are not unduly hastened, 
or curtailed, but that they shall follow the usual course 
of studies. And be persuaded that if in the seminaries 
you educate subjects conspicuous for the integrity and 
purity of their lives, and well prepared for the sacred 
ministry and most skilled masters of the Divine Law, 
you will have prepared men who will not only attract 
the attention of the leading men of the country, but 



The Popes and the Missions 35 

priests who will one day be destined to govern the 
parishes and dioceses which will be erected as soon as 
it shall please God that they should be, and We hope 
not without great fruit. 



Equality Among European and Native Missionaries 

He errs grievously who considers such natives as of 
an inferior race and of obtuse intelligence. For long 
experience has shown that the peoples who inhabit the 
remote regions of the east and of the south infrequently 
are not inferior to us, and can even hold their own very 
well in keenness of mind. But if you find extreme 
slowness of mind in the case of men who live in the 
very heart of barbarous regions, this is due to the con- 
ditions of their lives, for, since the exigencies of their 
lives are limited, they are not compelled to make great 
use of their intelligence. But you, Venerable Brethren, 
Beloved Sons, can testify to the truth of what We say, 
and We Ourselves can testify, since We have under Our 
very eyes the example of certain natives who, as students 
in the colleges of Rome, are not only the equals of the 
others in ability and in the results obtained, but 
frequently even surpass them. 

Moreover, you ought not to permit native priests to 
be regarded, as it were, of an inferior grade, and accord- 
ingly used only for the most humble offices of the 
ministry, as if they had not been adorned with the same 
priesthood as the missionaries, or as if they were not 
taking part in the self-same apostolate. Nay, show them 
the preference, as being the ones who shall one day 
govern the Church founded with your sweat and 
labours, and the future Catholic communities. Let 
there not be any discrimination, therefore, between 
European and native missionaries, and let there be no 
line of demarcation, but let them be united in the bonds 
of reverence and love. 



36 The Popes and the Missions 

Native Religious Congregations 

And since, for the organisation of the Church in Our 
regions, it is necessary, as We have already said, that 
you make use of the elements from which by Divine 
Providence it is composed, you ought, as a consequence, 
to consider as one of the principal duties of your office the 
founding of native religious communities of both men 
and women. Should not these new followers of Christ, 
when they feel themselves drawn to a more perfect life, 
take the vows of religion? 

And on this point, the missionaries and nuns who 
labour in your dioceses should not let themselves be 
prejudiced by a love of their own Congregations, 
although that love is right and legitimate in itself, but 
let them learn to view these things with a certain broad- 
ness of vision. Accordingly, if there are any natives 
desirous of joining the older Congregations, it certainly 
would not be right to discourage them, or to impede 
them from joining, provided they give signs of being 
able to acquire the spirit of those Congregations, and 
of being able to establish in their own countries houses 
of the Order, not unworthy of the Congregation that 
they have joined. Still, let them ponder seriously and 
prayerfully the question whether it might not be more 
expedient to found new Congregations such as may 
answer better the genius and character of the natives, 
and be more in keeping with the needs and spirit of the 
country. 

The Catechists 

Nor should We pass over in silence another point, 
which is most important for the propagation of the faith; 
namely, the importance of multiplying the number of 
catechists — whether they be chosen from Europeans, or 
preferably from the natives, who may help the mission- 
aries, particularly by instructing catechumens and pre- 
paring them for baptism. 



The Popes and the Missions 37 

It is not necessary to speak of the qualities which 
should adorn these catechists that they may be able to 
draw the infidels to Christ, more by the example of 
their lives than by word. And do you, Venerable 
Brethren and Beloved Sons, fervently resolve to educate 
them with all solicitude, in order that they may learn 
well the Christian doctrine, and that, in teaching it, 
they may be able to adapt themselves to the character 
and inteUigence of their catechism classes, in which work 
their success will be in exact proportion to the intimate 
knowledge they have of the mentality of the natives. 

Contemplative Orders 

Up to the present. We have been speaking of the 
selection and of the recruiting of the sharers of your 
labours. Under this heading, however, it still remains 
for Us to commend to your zeal a plan, which if it 
should be put into effect, would. We believe, greatly 
help the wider diffusion of the faith. 

In what high regard We hold the contemplative life 
is made abundantly clear by the Apostolic Constitution 
wherewith We very gladly, two years since, confirmed 
with Our apostolic authority the Carthusian rule which 
had been revised in keeping with the new code of canon 
law, a rule which from the very beginning of the Order 
had been approved by the pontifical authority. Now, 
just as We heartily exhort the higher superiors of similar 
contemplative Orders, in like manner must you give 
them repeated evidences that they may, by founding 
such houses in the territory of the missions, spread and 
promote the more austere kind of contemplative life on 
the missions. For these contemplatives will obtain from 
heaven an abundance of graces for you and for your 
works. 

Nor is there any danger that these monks may not find 
conditions propitious in your missions, since the inhabi- 
tants, especially in some regions although mostly pagans. 



38 The Popes and the Missions 

tend naturally to solitude, and to prayer and to 
contemplation. 

In this regard, let Us call to your attention that great 
monastery which the reformed Cistercians of La Trappe 
founded in the Vicariate Apostolic of Peking, where there 
are nearly a hundred monks, of whom the majority are 
Chinese; and just as they, by the exercise of the most 
perfect virtue, by continual prayer, by austerity of life, 
by manual labour, placate the Divine Majesty and render 
it propitious to themselves and to the pagans, so likewise 
by the efficacy of their example do they win those very 
pagans to Jesus Christ. 

It is evident, therefore, that our hermits, while 
maintaining intact the spirit of their founder and not 
giving themselves to the active life, can nevertheless, 
prove of great service for the success of the mission. 
And if the superiors 'of these Orders heed your requests, 
and establish houses of their subjects in places where 
by common agreement it is judged best, they will do 
something which will be, in the first place, salutary for 
the great multitudes of heathens, and also more accept- 
able to Us than We can say. 

The Distribution of Missionaries 

Now, Venerable Brethren and Beloved Sons, let Us 
pass to a point that has to do with the better manage- 
ment of the missions; and if in this matter Our immediate 
predecessor has already given counsels and instructions. 
We desire now to repeat them, because We believe them 
to be of great advantage for the fruitful exercise of the 
apostolate. 

Since in great part the success of the Catholic missions 
among the pagans depends upon you. We desire of you 
a better organisation, which from now on may render 
more easy the way of the propagation of Christian 
doctrine and the increase of converts. See to it, there- 
fore, that the missionaries are so distributed that no 



The Popes and the Missions 39 

part of your territory remains neglected, and that no 
part is left for future evangelisation. Wherefore, spread 
out by means of stations, leaving missionaries in certain 
central points around which you may establish smaller 
houses which are in charge at least of a catechist, and 
furnish with a chapel, so that the missionaries may from 
time to time come, on certain days, to visit and exercise 
their ministry. 

In the meanwhile, let the missionaries remember that 
they must follow the same methods with the natives as 
did the Divine Teacher when He was on earth. He, 
before He taught the multitudes, was accustomed to 
heal their sick, "and all that were sick He healed; and 
many followed Him and He healed them all; He had 
compassion on them and healed their sick"." He 
ordered His Apostles to do the same, giving them the 
power: "and into what city whatsoever you enter . . . 
heal the sick that are therein and say to them: The 
Kingdom of God is come nigh unto you"i2 and "going 
out they went about through the towns, preaching the 
gospel and healing everywhere".*' Nor should you let 
the missionaries forget how kind and loving Jesus showed 
Himself to infants and little children; and how when the 
disciples remonstrated with Him, He bade them to suffer 
the little children to come unto Him.** In this connec- 
tion, let Us remind you of what We said on another 
occasion, namely, that all who are interested in the 
health of the inhabitants, and minister to the sick, and 
all who are kind to infants and little children, win the 
good will and affection of all, so readily does the human 
heart respond to charity and kindness. 



11 Math, viii, 16; Math, xii, 15; Math, xiv, 14. 

12 Luke X, 8-9. 

13 Luke ix, 6. 

14 Math, xix, 13-14. 



40 The Popes and the Missions 

Churches and Missionary Buildings 

But to return to the point already touched upon. If 
it is necessary, in the places where you have taken up 
your residences, Venerable Brethren and Beloved Sons, 
and in the more important centres, to erect larger 
churches and other mission buildings, you must avoid 
erecting churches or edifices that are too sumptuous 
and costly, as though you were providing cathedrals for 
future dioceses. All this will come in its own good time. 
Do you know that in certain dioceses that have already 
been canonically erected for some time, such churches 
and buildings have only just been constructed or are 
in the process of construction? 

Likewise, it would be neither right nor advisable to 
crowd together into one principal station, or into the 
locahty where you reside, all the institutions erected for 
the good of soul and body; because, if they are very 
important, they will demand your presence and that of 
the missionaries, and will absorb so much of your 
attention as to make you gradually remit or even cease 
your visits to the rest of your territory in the interest of 
the propagation of the faith. 

Since mention has been made of such institutions for 
the care of the sick and for the distribution of medicine, 
in addition, likewise, to elementary classes which you 
ought to open everywhere, it is important that, with the 
foundation of other schools for youths who do not intend 
taking up agriculture, you open the way to them for 
higher instruction, particularly of arts and trades; and 
here We exhort you not to neglect the nobles of the 
region and their children. It is true that the word of 
God is received more readily by the poor and humble. 
It is likewise true that Jesus Christ said of Himself 
"the spirit of the Lord . . . hath sent me to preach 
the gospel to the poor",i5 but we must also take into 

15 Luke iv, i8. 



The Popes and the Missions 41 

account what St. Paul says, "To the wise and to the 
unwise, I am a debtor".*^ History and experience teach 
Us that when once the leaders of the people have been 
converted to Christianity, the ordinary people follow 
closely in their footsteps. 

The Co-operation of Different Institutes 

And, finally. Venerable Brethren and Beloved Sons, 
by the well-known zeal with which you burn for religion 
and the salvation of souls, receive, with minds that are 
docile and prepared to carry it out promptly, this last 
and most important recommendation. In tliose territories 
which the Apostolic See has entrusted to your zeal to be 
won for Christ Our Lord, it sometimes happens, since 
they are often very extensive, that the number of 
missionaries each of you has from his own religious 
Institute is far less than what is needed. In similar 
circumstances, even in fully established dioceses, addi- 
tional priests, brothers, and sisters from different 
religious families come in and help the Bishop. So too, 
in the missions, do not hesitate to summon to your aid 
as your co-workers missionaries who are not of your 
own religious family, whether they be priests or belong 
to lay Institutes. They can be called in to help in 
spreading the faith, to educate the native youth and 
to engage in other missionary activities. 

Let religious Orders and Congregations take legitimate 
pride in the foreign missions entrusted to them, as well 
as in the harvest of souls so far won for Christ's King- 
dom. But let them remember that they have not 
received their portion of the Lord's vineyard by a kind 
of private title in perpetuity. Rather they hold it at 
the will of the Holy See, whose right and responsibility 
it is to see that it is fully developed. The Roman 
Pontiff does not fulfil his apostolic duty merely by 

16 Kom. i, 14. 



42 The Popes and the Missions 

portioning out larger or smaller mission territories among 
different religious Institutes. What is more important, 
he must make it his continual and anxious care that these 
Institutes send into the territories entrusted to them 
missionaries sufficient in numbers and especially in 
apostolic quality to preach the Gospel successfully 
throughout the whole territory. 

Therefore, since the Divine Pastor will require an 
account of His flock at Our hand, We, without hesitation, 
whenever it shall appear necessary or more opportune 
and useful for the greater expansion of the Catholic 
Church, will transfer the territories of the mission from 
one Society to another, and will divide or subdivide a 
territory, and will confide to the native clergy or other 
Congregations new Vicariates and Prefectures Apostolic. 

It only remains for Us to exhort anew all of you, 
Venerable Brethreri, throughout the whole Catholic 
world, to share with us the cares and consolations of 
the pastoral office, to come to the aid of the missions 
with the industry and with the means We have suggested 
to you, in order that they, as it were quickened by 
renewed strength, may bring forth a more abundant 
harvest for the future. May Mary, the Most Holy Queen 
of the Apostles, graciously support our common under- 
takings; Mary, who, since she holds in her mother's 
heart all men who were committed to her on Calvary, 
cherishes and loves, not only those who happily enjoy 
the fruits of the redemption, but those likewise who still 
do not know that they have been redeemed by Jesus 
Christ. Meanwhile, as an earnest of celestial favours and 
as a testimony of Our paternal benevolence to you, 
Venerable Brethren, to your clergy, and to your people, 
We very lovingly bestow the Apostolic Benediction. 



EVANGELII PRAECONES 

ON PROMOTING CATHOLIC MISSIONS 

Encyclical Letter of Pius XII, June 2nd, ig^i 

/^ATHOLIC missionaries toiling in a vast field of labour 
"that the word of the Lord may run its course 
triumphantly"! are in Our thoughts in a special way 
on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the 
Encyclical Letter Rerum EcclesicB^ of Our predecessor 
of immortal memory Pius XI, wherein he laid down 
wise norms for the greater development of Catholic 
missions. The consideration of the progress this holy 
cause has made in the intervening years has brought Us 
no small consolation. As We remarked in an audience 
on June 24th, 1944, to the directors of the Pontifical 
Missionary Work: "The Catholic missionary movement 
both in Christian and pagan lands has gained such force 
and momentum, and is of such proportions, as perhaps 
was never witnessed before in the annals of Catholic 
missions". 3 

In view of the upheavals and dangers of the present 
time, when not a few people are divided by conflicting 
interests. We consider it very opportune on the present 
occasion to reiterate Our approval of this work. For 
missionaries preach to all men the practice of natural 
and Christian virtues and that brotherly and common 
fellowship which transcends racial conflicts and national 
frontiers. 



1 II Thess. iii, i . 

2 Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 1926, p. 65 sq. 

3 A.A.S., 1944, p. 209. 



43 



44 The Popes and the Missions 

On that occasion, when We addressed the directors 
of the above mentioned work, We made the following 
observations among others : "... It is in keeping with 
your apostolate not to be hampered by any national 
frontiers; for your work, which unites you in fraternal 
co-operation, clearly manifests to all that note of the 
Catholic Church which rejects discord, fiees division, 
and abhors all disputes which agitate nations and 
sometimes bring them to utter ruin. We refer to that 
Christian faith and universal Christian charity which 
transcend all opposing camps and national boundaries 
and reach out to the ends of the earth. They are the 
motives that spur each one of you on to reach your goal, 
which is the establishment of the Kingdom of God 
throughout the whole world."* 

We gladly avail Ourselves of this twenty-fifth anniver- 
sary of the Encyclical Letter Rerum Ecclesice to express 
Our appreciation of the work which has been accom- 
pHshed and the great consolation it has given Us, and 
further to exhort all to go forward with still greater 
zeal; all Our Venerable Brethren in the episcopacy, We 
mean; all missionaries, priests and individual faithful, 
both in missionary lands and throughout the whole 
world, who by their prayers, by training and helping 
future missionaries, or by obtaining material aid promote 
this most important work. 

The Statistics of Progress 

We should like first of all to touch here briefly on 
the progress that has happily been made. In 1926 the 
number of Catholic missions amounted to four hundred, 
but today it is almost six hundred. At that date the 
number of Catholics in the missions did not exceed 
15,000,000, while today it is almost 20,800,000. At 



4 A.A.S., 1944, p. 207. 



The Popes and the Missions 45 

that time the number of native and foreign priests in 
the missions was about 14,800; today their number is 
more than 26,800. Then all Bishops in the missions 
were foreigners; during the past twenty-five years eighty- 
eight missions have been entrusted to native clergy; 
moreover, with the estabUshment of the ecclesiastical 
hierarchy and the appointment of native Bishops in quite 
a few places, it has become more apparent that the 
religion of Jesus Christ is really Catholic, and that no 
part of the world is excluded from it. 

For instance, in China and in some parts of Africa 
the ecclesiastical hierarchy has been juridically estab- 
lished; three very important Plenary Councils have been 
held, the first in 1934 in Indochina, the second in 1937 
in Australia, and the third last year in India. Minor 
seminaries have been greatly increased and strengthened. 
The number of those studying in major seminaries, 
which twenty-five years ago was only 1,770, is now 
4,300; moreover, many regional seminaries have been 
built. Attached to the College of Propaganda Fide in 
Rome a Missionary Institute has been inaugurated; while 
in Rome and elsewhere not a few university chairs of 
missiology have been founded. Likewise in this beloved 
city the College of St. Peter has been equipped to give 
a more thorough and better adapted theological, moral 
and apostolic training to native priests. Moreover, two 
universities have been founded; high schools which 
formerly numbered 1,600 today number more than 
5,000; the number of elementary and primary schools 
has been almost doubled; the same can be said for 
dispensaries and hospitals where every kind of sick and 
infirm, including lepers, are cared for. 

In addition there have been the following develop- 
ments: "The Missionary Union of the Clergy" during 
this period has increased greatly; the Fides news service 
has been established; almost everywhere missionary 
periodicals are growing in number and enjoy a wide 



46 The Popes and the Missions 

circulation; many missionary congresses have been held, 
among which that held in Rome during the Holy Year 
deserves special mention, giving as it did a clear picture 
of the nature and extent of the missionary work being 
done; a short time ago a Eucharistic Congress was held 
at Kumasi, on the Gold Coast of Africa, which wcis 
remarkable alike for the number and piety of its partici- 
pants; and, lastly, a special day in the year has been 
appointed by Us to help with prayer and alms the 
Pontifical Work of the Holy Childhood. s All these 
developments make it obvious that the work of the 
apostolate has adapted itself to the changing conditions 
and growing needs of our time by employing new and 
more modern methods. 

Nor must We omit to mention that during this period 
there have been duly established in different regions 
five Apostolic Delegations which are under the jurisdic- 
tion of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda Fide; 
moreover, Apostohc Nuncios or Internuncios have been 
appointed to a number of missionary territories. In 
this connection it may be asserted that the presence and 
activity of these Prelates have borne abundant fruit. 
It is their special merit that greater co-ordination and 
collaboration have been reahsed among missionaries who 
are working towards a common end. 

Our Legates likewise have contributed considerably 
to this result. They often visit each district, and also 
from time to time take part in Our name in meetings 
of the hierarchy, during which the experiments which 
have been prudently tried out by different local 
Ordinaries are pooled to the common advantage, and 
by common agreement easier and more efficient methods 
of apostolate have been adopted. Besides, this fraternal 
co-ordination of the activities of the faith has also been 
conducive to a better appreciation of the Catholic 



5 Epist. Proeses Consilii, A.A.S. , 1951, pp. 88-^io. 



The Popes and the Missions 47 

religion on the part of public authorities, even when they 
are non-Catholic. 

What We have briefly written here about the progress 
of the missions during the past twenty-five years, and 
what We had the pleasure of witnessing during the 
Holy Year, when considerable numbers from distant 
missionary countries flocked to Rome to obtain grace 
and to receive Our blessing, all this. We say, strongly 
urges Us to repeat the burning desire expressed by the 
Apostle of the Gentiles when writing to the Romans: 
"... that I may have some spiritual gift to share with 
you so as to strengthen your resolve; or rather, so that 
the faith we find in each other, you and I, may be an 
encouragement to you and to me as well''.^ 

It seems to Us that the Divine Master Himself is 
repeating to everyone those words of consolation and 
exhortation: "Lift up your eyes and see the countries; 
for they are white already to harvest".'' But since the 
number of missionaries is inadequate for present needs, 
the following words are in a way the counterpart of that 
invitation: "The harvest indeed is great, but the 
labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the 
harvest that he send forth labourers into his harvest. "« 

It is a great consolation to Us to know that the number 
of missionary vocations is happily increasing at the 
present time and promises well for the Church; still 
very much remains to be done; there is still much need 
of prayer. When We consider the countless peoples 
who are to be called to the one fold and to the one 
haven of salvation by the preaching of these mission- 
aries. We address to the heavenly Prince of Pastors 
the words of Ecclesiasticus : "For as thou hast been 
sanctified in us in their sight, so thou shalt be magnified 



6 Rom. i, II-I2. 

7 John iv. 35. 

8 Matth. ix, 37-38. 



48 The Popes and the Missions 

among them in our presence, that they may know thee, 
as we also have known thee, that there is no God beside 
thee, O Lord".' 

Under Persecution and Cireat Difficulties 

Now this salutary progress of the work of the missions 
has cost not only the ceaseless and great labours of those 
who have sowed the seed of the Gospel, but also much 
blood of martyrs. During the course of the centuries 
there have not been lacking in some countries most 
violent persecutions of the nascent Church; and in our 
own time there are countries in the Far East which 
are being made purple with the blood of martyrs in the 
Scune cause. We have learned that many of the faithful 
and also nuns, missionaries, native priests and even 
Bishops have been .driven from their homes, despoiled 
of their possessions and languish in want as exiles, or 
have been arrested, thrown into prison or into concen- 
tration camps, or sometimes cruelly done to death, 
because they were devoutly attached to their faith. 

Our heart is overwhelmed with grief when We think 
of the hardships, suffering and death of these Our 
beloved children. Not only do We love them with a 
fatherly love, but We reverence them with a fatJberly 
veneration, since We are fully aware that their high 
sense of duty is sometimes crowned with martyrdom. 
Jesus Christ, the first martyr, said: "If they have 
persecuted me, they will also persecute you ".10 "In 
the world you will have distress. But have confidence. 
I have overcome the world."" "Unless the grain of 
wheat falling into the ground die, itself remaineth alone. 
But if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. "12 

Missionaries in foreign lands who die in the fulfilment 



9 Exclus. xxxvi, 4-5. 

10 John XV, 20. 

11 John xvi, 33. 

12 John xii, 24-25. 



The Popes and the Missions 49 

of their sacred duty are seeds destined, when God so 
wills, to bear abundant fruit. Wherefore the Apostle 
Paul asserted : "We glory in tribulations". i^ St. Cyprian, 
Bishop and martyr, consoled and animated the 
Christians of his day with these words: "The Lord has 
willed that we should even rejoice over persecutions 
because, when persecutions occur, then the faith is 
crowned, God's soldiers are put to the test, and heaven 
is opened to martyrs. We have not enlisted in an army 
merely to think of peace and to decline battle, seeing 
that the Lord, the master of humility, tolerance and 
suffering, has taken the first place in the conflict, that 
He might first do what He taught us to do and that He 
might Himself first endure for us what He exhorts us 
to endure. "14 

The missionaries who toil in distant lands are 
championing a cause not unlike that of the early Church. ^ 
For those who along with the Princes of the Apostles, 
Peter and Paul, brought the Gospel to the citadel of the 
Roman Empire found themselves in a rather similar 
situation in Rome. If one remembers that the infant 
Church at that time was devoid of all natural means 
and was exposed to hardships, trials and persecutions, 
one must be deeply struck with admiration at the sight 
of a handful of unarmed Christians overthrowing what 
was perhaps the greatest power that ever existed. What 
happened then will undoubtedly often happen again. 
Just as the youth David, who put his trust more in God's 
help than in his own sling, laid low the armour-clad 
giant Goliath, so the divine society which Christ 
founded can never be overcome by an earthly power, 
but is destined to come forth the serene conqueror of all 
persecutions. Though We know well that this is due 
to the indefectible divine promises, still We cannot but 



13 Rom. V, 3. 

14 St. Cyprian, Epist. LVI; ML, IV, 351A. 



50 The Popes and the Missions 

express Our gratitude to all those who have borne witness 
to their unshaken and invincible faith in Jesus Christ 
and in His Church, the pillar and ground of truth, ^s 
exhorting them at the same time to continue in their 
constancy. 

News very frequently reaches Us of their invincible 
and virile faith, which fills Our heart with great consola- 
tion. Though some have tried to separate the children 
of the Catholic Church from Rome and from this 
Apostolic See, as though patriotism and loyalty so 
required, yet Catholics have been and are able to make 
the fully justified rejoinder that, while they are second 
to none in the matter of patriotism, they genuinely desire 
to enjoy a rightful liberty. 

Now what We have touched upon above must be 
particularly borne in mind, namely that what still 
remains to be accomplished in this field calls for an 
enormous effort and innumerable labourers. Let us 
remember that our brethren "who sit in darkness and 
shadow"^^ form an immense multitude that can be 
reckoned at about a thousand million. Hence it appears 
that the ineffable sigh of the most loving Heart of Christ 
is echoing still: "And other sheep I have that are not 
of this fold; them also I must bring. And they shall 
hear my voice : and they shall be one fold and one 
shepherd."i7 

There are some shepherds, as you know, Venerable 
Brethren, who strive to lead away the sheep from this 
one fold and haven of salvation; you likewise know that 
this danger is daily growing greater. When We consider 
before God the immense number of men without the 
truth of the Gospel, and duly reckon the grave danger 
that faces many from the prevalence of atheistic 
materialism or from a certain so-called Christian creed 



15 Cf. I Tim Hi, 15. 

16 Ps. cvi, 10. 
IT John X, 16. 



The Popes and the Missions 51 

which is infected by the tenets and errors of Communism, 
We feel the deepest concern and solicitude that nothing 
be left undone to promote the work of the apostolate 
throughout the world. We make Our own the exhorta- 
tion of the Prophet saying: "Cry, cease not, lift up 
thy voice like a trumpet ".^^ 

We pray God especially for those missionaries who 
labour in the interior of Latin America, since We are 
aware of the dangerous pitfalls to which they are exposed 
from the open and covert attacks of heretical teaching. 

Principles of Missionary Work 

With a view to promoting still more effectively the 
work of evangelisation by our missionaries and to 
prevent one drop of their sweat and blood from being 
shed in vain, We should like here to explain briefly the 
principles and norms that must guide the zeal and 
activity of Catholic missionaries. 

First of all it is to be observed that the person who 
has been called by God to evangelise distant non- 
Christian lands has received a very great and sublime 
vocation. He consecrates his life to God in order to 
spread His Kingdom to the farthest ends of the earth. 
He "does not seek what is his, but what is Christ's"." 
He can apply to himself in a special way those beautiful 
sayings of St. Paul: "For Christ ... we are 
ambassadors" .20 "Though we walk in the flesh, we 
do not war according to the flesh. "21 "To the weak 
I became weak that I might gain the we£Lk."22 

He must, therefore, consider the country he is going 
to evangelise as a second fatherland and love it with 
due charity. Furthermore let him not seek any earthly 



18 


Is. Iviii, I. 


19 


Cf. Phil ii, 21. 


to 


II Cor. V, 20. 


21 


II Cor. X, 3. 


ffl 


I Cor. ix, 22. 



52 The Popes and the Missions 

advantage for his own country or religious Institute, 
but rather what may help towards the salvation of souls. 
Certainly he should dearly love his fatherland and his 
Order, but the Church should be loved with a still more 
ardent devotion. And let him remember that nothing 
will be to the advantage of his own Order that is detri- 
mental to the good of the Church. 

Moreover it is necesary that those who are called to 
this kind of apostolate should not only get the spiritual 
and intellectual training that befits ecclesiastical students, 
before going out on the mission-field, but should learn 
in addition those subjects which will be most useful 
to them when they come to preach the Gospel in foreign 
lands. Hence they should be given a sound knowledge 
of languages, especially of those which they will require 
at some future date. Besides, they should be sufficiently 
instructed in the sciences of medicine, agriculture, 
ethnography, history, geography, and so on. 

The object of missionary activity, as all know, is to 
bring the light of the Gospel to new races and to form 
new Christians, However, the ultimate goal of mission- 
ary endeavour, which should never be lost to sight, is 
to establish the Church on sound foundations among 
non-Christian peoples, and place it under its own native 
hierarchy. 

In a letter which We wrote on August 9th last year 
to Our beloved son Pietro Cardinal Fumasoni-Biondi, 
Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda Fide, 
We mentioned the following points among others: 

"The Church's aim is not the domination of peoples 
or the gaining of temporal dominions; she is eager only 
to bring the supernatural light of faith to all peoples, 
and to promote the interests of civilisation and culture, 
and fraternal concord among nations. "23 

In the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud^* of Our 



23 Epist. Perlibenti equidem; A.A.S., 1950, p. 727. 

24 A.A.S., 1919, p. 440 sq. 



The Popes and the Missions 53 

predecessor of immortal memory, Benedict XV, given 
in the year 1919, and in the Encyclical Letter Rerum 
Ecclesice.^^ of Our immediate predecessor of happy 
memory, Pius XI, it was laid down that the missions 1^ 
should have as the final goal of their activities the 
establishment of the Church in new territories. And 
We Ourselves when, as We have said, We received in 
audience the directors of mission activities in 1944, 
made the following statement: 

' 'The magnanimous and noble purpose which mission- 
aries have is the propagation of the faith in new lands 
in such a way that the Church may ever become more 
firmly established in them and as soon as possible reach 
such a stage of development that it can continue to exist 
and flourish without the aid of missionary organisations. 
These missionary organisations do not serve their own 
ends, but it is their task to use every endeavour to realise 
the lofty purpose We have already mentioned. When 
that has been attained, then let them be happy to turn 
to other fields. "2^ 

"Wherefore let the missionary take up no permanent 
abode in those places where the work of the apostolate 
has reached full development, since it is up to him to 
evangelise and sanctify the whole world. The mission- 
ary's appointed task is to promote ever more rapidly 
in district after district, till the last man in the most 
remote comer of the earth has been reached, the King- 
dom of the Divine Redeemer Who rose triumphant from 
the dead and to Whom is given all power in heaven 
and on earth.27" 28 

It is clear, however, that the Church cannot be 
properly and duly estabUshed in new territories unless 
all is there organised as time and circumstances require 



25 A.A.S., 1926, p. 65 sq. 

26 A.A.S., 1944, p. 210. 

27 Cf. Matth. xxviii, 18. 

28 A.A.S., 1944, p. 208. 



54 The Popes and the Missions 

and especially unless a native clergy equal to the need 
has been properly educated and -trained. In this con- 
nection We should like to borrow the grave and wise 
directives of the Encyclical Letter Return Ecclesice: 

"... While each of you should try to have as large 
a number of native students as possible, you must 
further make it your aim to fashion and develop in 
them sacerdotal sanctity and such an apostolic spirit 
and zeal for the salvation of their own people that 
they will be ready to lay down their Uves for their 
fellow- tribesmen and fellow-countrymen. "2' 

"Suppose owing to war or political upheavals there 
is a change of government in some missionary territory, 
and the request is made or a law passed that the foreign 
missionaries of a certain country must leave : suppose 
again, a more unlikely case, that the native population, 
raised to a higher decree of culture and political develop- 
ment, in order to gain its freedom, wants to drive out 
of their territory all governors, armed forces and mission- 
aries belonging to the occupying foreign power, and 
that it cannot do so otherwise than by force. What 
then. We ask, would be the disaster that would threaten 
the Church throughout all that territory, unless full 
provision has been made for the needs of the Christian 
populace by a network of native priests throughout the 
whole country? "30 

We are profoundly grieved as We behold these con- 
ditions which Our immediate predecessor described with 
almost prophetic vision verified in many part of the 
Far East. There what were most flourishing missions, 
ripe for the harvest,^! are now, alas, reduced to the 
direst straits. Would that it were permitted Us to hope 
that the peoples of Korea and China, who are naturally 
cultured and honourable and have been renowned from 



29 A.A.S., 1946, p. 76. 

30 Ibidem, p. 75. 

31 Cf. John iv, 35. 



The Popes and the Missions 55 

early times for their high standard of civilisation, might 
as soon as possible be freed not only from turbulent 
factions and wars, but from the inimical doctrine which 
seeks only the things of earth and scorns the things of 
heaven; and, moreover that they might appraise rightly 
the Christian charity and virtue of foreign missionaries 
and native priests who strive only to promote the genuine 
good of the people by their labours and, if necessary, 
by the sacrifice of their lives. 

We return heartfelt thanks to God that in both 
countries a numerous clergy chosen from among the 
people has grown up as the future hope of the Church, 
and that not a few dioceses have been entrusted to the 
care of native Bishops. That this stage of develoj>- 
ment should have been reached redounds to the credit 
of the foreign missionaries. 

In this respect We think fit to point out something 
which should be carefully borne in mind when mission 
territory that has been under the care of foreign mission- 
aries is entrusted to a native Bishop and clergy. It is 
not necessary that the religious Institute whose members 
tilled the mission field with their sweat should leave it 
altogether when by decree of the Sacred Congregation of 
Propaganda Fide the vineyard, which was cultivated 
by them and is now flourishing, is handed over to other 
husbandmen. It will be advantageous and becoming 
that such a religious Institute should remain to co-operate 
with the newly-appointed native Bishop. As in the 
rest of the Catholic dioceses of the world religious 
usually assist the local Ordinary, so in mission countries 
let them not cease, though foreigners, to labour for the 
Church in an auxiliary capacity. Thus what the Divine 
Master proclaimed at the well of Sichar will be happily 
fulfilled: "And he that reapeth, receiveth wages and 
gathereth fruit unto life everlasting: that both he that 
•soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. "32 

32 John iv, 36. 



56 The Popes and the Missions 

Catholic Action in the Mission Fields 

We desire to address and exhort in this Encyclical 
Letter not only missionary priests but also those laymen 
who "with a great heart and a willing mind"" collabor- 
ate with the missionaries in the ranks of Catholic Action. 

It can certainly be claimed that the lay co-operation 
which we today call Catholic Action has existed since the 
foundation of the Church, Indeed, the Apostles and 
other preachers of the Gospel received no little help 
from it, and the Christian religion thereby made great 
advances. In this respect Apollo, Lidia, Aquila, 
Priscilla and Philemon are mentioned by the Apostle of 
the Gentiles. We have also these words of his to the 
Philippians: "Yes, and I ask thee, who sharest the 
yoke so loyally, to take part with them; they have 
worked for the Gospel at my side, as much as Clement 
and those other fellow-labourers of mine, whose names 
are recorded in the book of life". 3* 

Likewise all know that the Gospel followed the great 
Roman roads and was spread not only by Bishops and 
priests but also by public officials, soldiers and private 
citizens. Thousands of Christian neophytes, whose 
names are today unknown, were fired with zeal to 
promote the new religion they had embraced and 
endeavoured to prepare the way for the coming of the 
Gospel. That explains why after about one hundred 
years Christianity had penetrated into all the chief cities 
of the Roman Empire, 

St. Justinus, Minucius Felix, Aristides, the consul 
Acilius Glaber, the patrician Flavins Clemens, St, 
Tarcicius and countless holy martyrs of both sexes, who 
strengthened and enriched the growth of the Church 
by their labours and the shedding of their blood, can 
in a certain sense be called the advance guard and fore- 



33 ii Mach i, 3. 

34 Phil. iv. 3. 



The Popes and the Missions 57 

runners of Catholic Action. Here We wish to cite the 
striking observation of the author of the letter to 
Diognetus,^5 which even today has a message for us: 
"Christians dwell in their native countries as though 
aliens; . . . every foreign land is their home and the 
land of their birth is foreign soil". 

During the barbarian invasions of the Middle Ages, 
we see men and women of royal rank, and even work- 
men and valiant Christian women of the common 
people, using every endeavour to convert their fellow- 
citizens to the religion of Jesus Christ and to fashion 
their morals according to its pattern, so as to safeguard 
both religion and the State from approaching danger. 
Tradition tells us that when Our immortal predecessor, 
Leo the Great, courageously opposed Attila, when he 
invaded Italy, two Roman consuls stood by his side. 
When formidable hordes of Huns were besieging Paris, 
the holy virgin Genevieve, who was given to a life of 
continuous prayer and austere penance, cared for the 
souls and bodies of her fellow citizens with wondrous 
charity. Theodolinda, Queen of the Lombards, 
zealously summoned her people to embrace the Christian 
religion. King Reccaredus of Spain endeavoured to 
rescue his people from the Arian heresy and to lead 
them back to the true Faith. 

In France there were not only Bishops, such as 
Remigius of Reims, Caesarius of Aries, Gregory of Tours, 
Eligius of Noyon and many others, who were eminent 
for virtue and apostolic zeal, but queens also can be 
found during that period who taught the truths of 
Christianity to the untutored masses and who gave 
food and shelter and renewed strength to the sick, the 
hungry and the victims of every human misfortune. For 
example, Clotilda so influenced Clovis in favour of the 
Catholic religion that she had the great joy of bringing 



35 Epist. ad Diognetum, V, 5; ed. Funk, I, 399. 



58 The Popes and the Missions 

him into the true Church. Radegunda and Bathilda 
cared for the sick with supreme charity, and even 
restored lepers to health. 

In England Queen Bertha welcomed St. Augustine 
when he came to evangelise that nation, and earnestly 
exhorted her husband Ethelbert to accept the teachings 
of the Gospel. No sooner had the Anglo-Saxons, of 
both high and low degree, men and women, young and 
old, embraced the Christian faith, than they were led 
as though by divine inspiration to unite themselves to 
this Apostolic See by the closest bonds of piety, fidelity 
and devotion. 

In Germany we witness the admirable spectacle of 
St. Boniface and his companions traversing those regions 
on their apostoUc journeys and making them fruitful by 
their generous labours. The sons and daughters of that 
valiant and noble land felt inspired to offer their efficient 
collaboration to monks, priests and Bishops in order 
that the light of the Gospel might be daily more widely 
diffused throughout those vast regions and that Christian 
doctrine and Christian virtue might ever make greater 
advances and reap a rich harvest of souls. 

Thus in every age, thanks to the tireless labours of 
the clergy and also to the co-operation of the laity, the 
Catholic Church has not only advanced its spiritual 
kingdom, but has also led nations to increased social 
prosperity. Everybody knows the social reforms of 
St. Elizabeth in Hungary, of St. Ferdinand in Castile 
and of St. Louis IX in France. By their holy lives 
and zealous labours they brought about salutary 
improvements in the different classes of society by 
instituting reforms, by spreading the true faith every- 
where, by valiantly defending the Church and above 
all by their personal example. 

Nor are We unaware of the excellent merits of the 
guilds during the Middle Ages. In these guilds artisans 
and skilled workers of both sexes were enrolled, who, 



The Popes and the Missions 59 

notwithstanding the fact that they Hved in the world, 
kept their eyes fixed upon the sublime ideal of evangelical 
perfection. Not only did they eagerly pursue this ideal, 
but together with the clergy they exerted every effort 
to bring all others to do the same. 

The same conditions which prevailed in the early da)^ 
of the Church are still to be found in many areas which 
have been evangelised by missionaries; or at least their 
peoples suffer disadvantages which had to be left to a 
future generation to face and remedy. For that reason 
it is imperative that the laity should in great numbers 
enter the varied ranks of CathoUc Action, and thus 
co-operate generously, earnestly and diligently with the 
hierarchy in promoting the apostolate. The work of 
catechists is assuredly necessary; yet no less necessary 
is the industry and skill of those who out of pure charity 
are ready to help gratuitously the ministers of God in 
the performance of their duties. 

We therefore desire that there be everywhere erected, 
as far as is possible, associations of Catholic men and 
women, and also of students, of workers, of artists, 
of athletes, a?id other clubs and sodalities, which can 
be considered the auxiliaries of the missionaries. In 
the erection and constitution of these organisations, let 
character, virtue and zeal be preferred to numbers. 

It is to be borne in mind that nothing is more 
efficacious in winning for missionaries the confidence of 
fathers and mothers than devoted care bestowed upon 
their children. If the minds of the young are moulded 
to Christian truth and their characters fashioned accord- 
ing to Christian virtue, they will enrich and bring 
distinction not only to their families but also to their 
communities. It not rarely happens that if the life 
of a Christian community be in any way remiss or lax, 
they succeed in restoring it to its pristine vigour. 

Although it is clear that Catholic Action should 
exercise its influence primarily in promoting the works 



6o The Popes and the Missions 

of the apostolate, its members are not prevented from 
joining other organisations whose purpose is to reform 
social and poUtical life according to the principles and 
teaching of the Gospel; in fact, their participation not 
only as citizens, but as CathoHcs also, is a right which 
they possess and a duty to which they are bound. 

Education in the Mission Fields 

Since young men, and those especially who have 
had the advantage of a classical and liberal education, 
will direct the course of the future, no one can be blind 
to the supreme importance of devoting the best care to 
elementary schools, high schools and colleges. There- 
fore with paternal solicitude We exhort superiors of 
missions to spare neither labour nor expense in propor- 
tion to their means ,in vigorously promoting this phase 
of missionary activity. 

The utility of schools for the young lies especially 
in this, that they estabhsh advantageous relationships 
between the missionaries and pagans of every class, 
and above all, they more easily influence the docile 
minds of the young to understand, appreciate and 
embrace CathoHc doctrine. As we all know, the educated 
youth of today will form the governments of tomorrow, 
and the masses will follow their leadership and guidance. 
The Apostle of the Gentiles propounded the sublime 
wisdom of the Gospel before a learned audience when 
in the Areopagus of Athens he proclaimed the unknown 
God. Even though this method does not make many 
converts outright to the teaching of our Divine 
Redeemer, still there will be many who, as they contem- 
plate the supernatural beauty of this rehgion and the 
charity of its disciples, will feel its benign influence. 

Schools and colleges are moreover especially helpful 
in refuting the errors which now especially are daily 
infecting more and more non-Catholic and Communist 
activities, and which are being openly and covertly 



The Popes and the Missions 6i 

instilled, especially into the minds of youth. 

An equally useful service is the dissemination of 
timely publications. It is scarcely necessary for Us 
to dwell at length on this point, for everyone knows 
how effectively newspapers, magazines and reviews can 
be employed either to present truth and virtue in their 
proper light and thus to impress them on men's minds, 
or to expose fallacies masquerading under the guise of 
truth, or to refute certain false opinions which are 
hostile to reUgion, or which do great spiritual harm by 
a distorted presentation of vexed social questions. Hence 
We warmly commend those Bishops who interest them- 
selves in the widest possible distribution of printed works 
of this sort which have been carefully edited. Though 
much has already been done in this regard, much 
remains to be done. 

We also wish at this point to pay the highest tribute 
of praise to the care taken of the sick, the infirm and 
afflicted of every kind; We mean hospitals, leproseries, 
dispensaries and homes for the aged and for maternity 
cases, and orphanages. These are to Our eyes the 
fairest flowers of missionary endeavour; they give us 
as it were a vision of the Divine Redeemer Himself, 
Who "went about doing good, and healing all that were 
oppressed". 36 

Such outstanding works of charity are undoubtedly of 
the highest efficacy in preparing the souls of non- 
Christians and in drawing them to the faith and to the 
practice of Christianity; besides, Our Lx)rd said to His 
Apostles: "Into what city soever you enter, and they 
receive you . . . heal the sick that are therein, and 
say to them: the Kingdom of God is come nigh unto 
you"." 

However, the brothers and nuns who feel that they 
are called to undertake such work must, before leaving 

36 Acts X, 38. 

37 Luke x, 8-9. 



62 The Popes and the Missions 

their own country, acquire the professional training and 
knowledge which are today required in these matters. 
We know that there are nuns with full professional 
qualifications who have earned well-merited recognition 
by the special study of loathsome diseases, such as 
leprosy, and by discovering remedies for them. These 
and all other missionaries who are giving their service 
so generously in leper hospitals have Our paternal 
blessing, and their exalted charity compels Our admira- 
tion and praise. 

With regard to medicine and surgery, however, it will 
certainly be advisable to enlist the services also of lay- 
men, provided not only that they have taken the 
necessary degrees for this work, and are willing to 
leave their homeland in order to help the missionaries, 
but also that in the matter of faith and morals they 
leave nothing to be desired. 

Social Problems and Communist Propaganda 

Passing now to another aspect of the subject which 
is of no less importance. We wish to speak of social 
reforms demanded by justice and charity. Whilst the 
propaganda of Communism, today so widespread, is 
readily deceiving the minds of the simple and untutored. 
We seem to hear an echo of those words of the Divine 
Saviour: "I have compassion on the multitude". '* 

It is imperative to put into practice with zeal and 
diligence the right principles taught by the Church in 
this matter. It is imperative to keep all nations free 
from those pernicious errors, or, in case they are already 
tainted with them, to set them free from these inimical 
doctrines which represent the enjoyment of this world as 

^ the unique goal to be attained by men in this mortal 
life. At the same time, by subjecting everything to 

y state ownership and control, they reduce the dignity of 



38 Mark viii, 2. 



The Popes and the Missions 63 

the human person almost to nothing. It is imperative 
to proclaim in private and in public that we are all 
exiles making our way to our immortal home; and are 
destined to eternal happiness, to which truth and virtue 
must lead us. Christ is the only real defender of human 
justice, the only true consoler of the human misery 
that in this Hfe is unavoidable. He alone points out 
to us that haven of peace, justice, and everlasting 
happiness which all of us, redeemed by His blood, are 
to gain after our earthly pilgrimage is finished. 

However, it is the duty of all, as far as possible, 
to mitigate the distress, sweeten the sorrow and relieve 
the anguish of their brethren during this life. 

Charity indeed can remedy to a certain extent many 
unjust social conditions. But that is not enough. For 
in the first place there must be justice which should 
prevail and be put into practice. 

While dealing with this point. We might quote Our 
words to the College of Cardinals and the Bishops at 
Christmastide, 1942 : 

"The Church has condemned the various forms of 
Marxist Socialism; and she condemns them again today, 
because it is her permanent right and duty to safe- 
guard men from fallacious arguments and subversive 
influences that jeopardise their eternal salvation. But 
the Church cannot ignore or overlook the fact that the 
worker, in his efforts to better his lot, is opposed by a 
machinery which is not only not in accordance with 
nature, but is at variance with God's plan and with the 
purpose He had in creating the goods of the earth. 

"In spite of the fact that the ways they followed 
are false and to be condemned, what Christian, and 
especially what priest, could remain deaf to the heartfelt 
cries that call for justice and a spirit of brotherly 
collaboration in a world made by a just God? Such 
silence would be culpable and unjustifiable before God, 
and contrary to the inspired teaching of the ApoStle, 



64 The Popes and the Missions 

who, while he inculcates the need of resolution in the 
fight against error, also knows that we must be full of 
sympathy for those who err, and give due consideration 
to their arguments, encourage and help them . . . 

"The dignity of the human person, then, speaking 
generally, requires as a natural foundation of life the 
right to the use of the goods of the earth. To this right 
corresponds the fundamental obligation to grant private 
ownership of property, if possible, to all. Positive 
legislation, regulating private ownership, may change 
and more or less restrict its use. But if legislation is 
to play its part in the pacification of the community, 
it must see to it that the worker, who is or will be the 
father of a family, is not condemned to an economic 
dependence and servitude which is irreconcilable with 
his rights as a person. 

"Whether this servitude arises from the exploitation 
of private capital or from State absolutism, the result is 
the same. Indeed, under the pressure of a State which 
dominates all and controls the whole field of public 
and private life, even going into the realm of personal 
opinions, projects and beliefs, the loss of liberty is so 
great that still more serious consequences can follow, 
as experience proves. "^^ 

To you. Venerable Brethren, who labour so well in 
the Catholic mission fields, is given the task of carefully 
putting these ideals and aims into practice. Ever 
keeping in mind special circumstances and varying 
conditions of time and place, take counsel together in 
your Bishops' meetings, in your synods and other 
gatherings, and strive by all possible means to establish 
those social welfare associations, organisations, and 
societies which the present time and the modem mind 
seem to demand. Your pastoral office certainly requires 
this, lest the flock entrusted to you be led astray from 



59 A.A.S., 1943, pp. 16-17. 



The Popes and the Missions 65 

the right path by passion and by new errors disguised I 
as truth and justice. In this task let the missionaries 1 
who are your able co-operators, distinguish themselves 
in promoting this apostolate. Thus they can be sure 
that it will not be said to them: "The children of this 
world are wiser . . . than the children of light".*" It 
will moreover prove helpful if they, whenever possible, 
gather round themselves qualified Catholic laymen of 
outstanding character and practical ability, who can 
take up and advance these works. 

Co-operation Between the Religious Orders 

In former times the vast missionary field was not 
limited within the set confines of various ecclesiastical 
territories, nor was it entrusted to different religious 
Institutes to be worked along with a growing native 
clergy. This, as all know, generally obtains today. It 
even sometimes happens that some mission territories 
are entrusted to the members of a particular Province 
of a religious Institute. 

We see the utility of this, of course, since by this 
method the organisation of Catholic missions is con- 
veniently facilitated. This arrangement, however, may 
give rise to serious inconveniences, which must be :)i^ 
remedied as far as possible. Our predecessors have 
touched this point in the Letters*^ to which We have 
already referred. In this matter they have laid down 
wise norms. We repeat them here and ratify them, 
paternally exhorting you "to accept and comply with 
them religiously in keeping with your well-known zeal 
for religion and the salvation of souls": 

"In those territories which the Apostolic See has 
entrusted to your zeal to be won to Christ Our Lord, it 
sometimes happens, since they are often very extensive, 
that the number of missionaries each of you has from 



40 Luke xvi, 8. 

41 Cf. A.A.S., 1919, p. 444; and A.A.S., 1926, pp. 81-82. 



66 The Popes and the Missions 

his own religious Institute is far less than what is needed. 
In similar circumstances, even in fully established 
dioceses, additional priests, brothers, and sisters from 
different religious families come in and help the Bishop. 
^ So too in the missions, do not hesitate to summon to 
your aid as your co-workers missionaries who are not 
of your own religious family, whether they be priests or 
belong to lay Institutes. They can be called in to help 
in spreading the faith, to educate the native youth and 
to engage in other missionary activities. Let religious 
Orders and Congregations take legitimate pride in the 
foreign missions entrusted to them, as well as in the 
harvest of souls so far won for Christ's Kingdom. But 
let them remember that they have not received their 
jj, portion of the Lord's vineyard by a kind of private title 
/ in perpetuity. Rather they hold it at the will of the 
Holy See, whose right and responsibility it is to see that 
it is fully developed. The Roman Pontiff does not fulfil 
his apostolic duty merely by portioning out larger or 
smaller mission territories among different religious 
Institutes. What is more important, he must make it 
his continual and anxious care that these Institutes send 
into the territories entrusted to them missionaries 
sufficient in numbers and especially in apostolic quality 
to preach the Gospel successfully throughout the whole 
territory. "42 

Respect for Existing Customs 

Another end remains to be achieved; and We desire 
that all should fully understand it. The Church from 
the beginning down to our own time has always followed 
this wise practice: let not the Gospel, on being intro- 
duced into any new land, destroy or extinguish what- 
ever its people possess that is naturally good, just or 
beautiful. For Ae Church, when she calls people to a 



4S A.A.S., 1926, pp. 81-82. 



The Popes and the Missions 67 

higher culture and a better way of life under the inspira- 
tion of the Christian religion, does not act like one who 
recklessly cuts down and uproots a thriving forest. No, 
she grafts a good scion upon the wild stock that it may 
bear a crop of more delicious fruit. 

Human nature, though owing to Adam's fall it is 
tainted with original sin, has in itself something that 
is naturally Christian ;43 and this, if illumined by divine 
light and nourished by God's grace, can eventually be 
changed into true and supernatural virtue. 

This is the reason why the Catholic Church has 
neither scorned nor rejected the pagan philosophies.. 
Instead, after freeing them from error and all contamina- 
tion she has perfected and completed them by Christian 
revelation. So likewise the Church has graciously made 
her own the native art and culture which in some 
countries is so highly developed. She has carefully 
encouraged them and has brought them to a point of 
aesthetic perfection that of themselves they probably 
would never have attained. By no means has she-^ 
repressed native customs and traditions but has given 
them a certain religious significance; she has even 
transformed their feast days and made them serve to 
commemorate the martyrs and to celebrate mysteries 
of the faith. 

In this connection, St. Basil says very well: 

"Just as dyers prepare the material to be dyed by 
certain processes beforehand, and only when this has 
been done do they colour it with purple or some other 
colour; likewise if the unfading glory of the just is to 
be ours for all time we shall first be prepared by these 
external rites and then we shall master the teachings 
and mysteries of faith. When we become accustomed 
to looking at the reflection of the sun in the water, we 
shall turn to gaze upon the sun itself . . . Certainly 



« Cf. TertuU., Apologet., cap. XVII; ML, I, 377A. 



^ 



68 The Popes and the Missions 

the essential function of a tree is to produce fruit in 
season; still the foliage that its branches also bear serves 
to adorn it. In the same way the primary fruit of the 
soul is truth itself; but the garb of natural culture is a 
welcome addition, just as leaves provide shade for the 
fruit and add to its beauty. Thus Moses, a man of the 
greatest renown for his wisdom, is said to have come 
to the contemplation of Him Who is, only after being 
trained in Egyptian lore. So later the wise Daniel is 
said to have been first schooled in Babylon in the 
wisdom of the Chaldeans, and only then to have come 
to know divine Revelation."** 

We Ourselves made the following statement in the 
first Encyclical Letter We wrote, Summi Pontificatus: 

"Persevering research carried out with laborious 
study, on the part of her missionaries of every age, has 
been undertaken in order to facilitate the deeper appre- 
ciative insight into the various civiUsations and to utilise 
their good qualities to facilitate and render more fruitful 
the preaching of the Gospel of Christ. Whatever there 
is in the native customs that is not inseparably bound 
up with superstition and error will always receive kindly 
consideration and, when possible, will be preserved 
intact. "« 

And in the discourse which We gave in 1944 to the 
directors of the Pontifical Mission Aid Societies, We said : 

"The herald of the Gospel and messenger of Christ is 
an apostle. His office does not demand that he trans- 
plant European civilisation and culture, and no other, 
to foreign soil, there to take root and propagate itself. 
His task in dealing with these peoples, who sometimes 
boast a very old and highly developed culture of their 
own, is to teach and form them so that they are ready 
to accept willingly and in a practical manner the 
principles of Christian life and morality; principles, I 



44 St. Basil., Ad adolescentes. 2; MG., XXXI. 567A. 

45 A.A.S., 1939, p. 429. 



The Popes and the Missions 69 

might add, that fit into any culture, provided it be good 
and sound, and which give that culture greater force in 
safeguarding human dignity and in gaining human 
happiness. Catholic inhabitants of missionary countries, 
although they are first of all citizens of the Kingdom of 
(iod and members of His great family ,^6 do not for all 
that cease to be citizens of their earthly fatherland."*' 
Our predecessor of happy memory, Pius XI, in the 
Jubilee Year 1925, ordered a great missionary exhibition 
to be held: he described its striking success in the 
following words: "It seems almost a miracle, which 
gives us a new experimental proof of the vital unity and 
harmony of the Church of God among all nations . . . 
Indeed, the Exhibition was and still is like a missionary 
encyclopaedia. "''^ 

From a desire to make known as widely as possible 
the outstanding merits of missionary endeavour, more 
especially in the field of culture. We also ordered that 
during the past Holy Year a large number of exhibits be 
collected, and We appointed, as you know, that they be 
shown pubhcly near the Vatican, in order to demon- 
strate clearly how missionaries have introduced Christian 
civilisation into nations of advanced and less advanced 
culture. 

This has shown how much the work of the preachers 
of the Gospel has contributed to the development of the 
fine arts and of university studies. It has shown also 
that the Church is no obstacle to the native talent of j^ 
any nation, but rather perfects it in the highest degree. 

We thank the Divine Goodness that all enthusiastically 
welcomed and encouraged this undertaking, which 
clearly proved that the missions are increasing and 
developing in influence and importance. Thanks to the 
activity of the missionaries, the Gospel spirit has been 



46 Cf. Ephes. ii, 19. 

47 A.A.S., 1944, p. 210. 

48 Allocution of Jan. loth, 1926. 



70 The Popes and the Missions 

able so to imbue the minds of peoples of different 
customs, living in widely separated regions, that it has 
borne eloquent testimony of a new flowering of the fine 
arts. Once again it has been proved that the Christian 
faith, when cordiaUy accepted and lived, is the one 
thing capable of inspiring the finest works of art, which 
works redound to the praise of the Catholic Church and 
lend beauty to divine worship. 

You no doubt remember how warmly the Encyclical 
Letter Rerum Ecclesus recommended the Missionary 
Union of the Clergy, whose object is to unite the com- 
bined energy of clergy, secular and regular, and of 
ecclesiastical students in furthering the cause of the 
missions in every possible way. Having had the happi- 
ness to witness the success of this Union, as We have 
mentioned. We earnestly desire that it increase and 
spread ever more widely and arouse both priests and 
people to work ever more zealously for the cause of 
the missions. 

This Union is the source from which depends the 
success of the other Pontifical Societies of the Propaga- 
tion of the Faith, of St. Peter the Apostle for Native 
Clergy, and of the Holy Childhood. There is no need 
for Us at present to dwell on the importance, necessity 
and outstanding merits of these Societies, which Our 
predecessors have enriched with numerous indulgences. 
We fully approve that the faithful be asked to contribute 
generously, especially on Mission Sunday. But We 
desire first and foremost that all pray to Almighty God, 
that they help those called to missionary work, and 
that they join and promote as much as possible the 
Pontifical Societies We have mentioned. You are quite 
aware. Venerable Brethren, that We recently instituted 
a special children's festival to help the Society of the 
Holy Childhood with prayers and alms. These little 
children of Ours are thus accustomed to pray earnestly 
for the salvation of the infidel; and may it be the means 



The Popes and the Missions 71 

of sowing the seed of a missionary vocation in their 
innocent hearts and of fostering its growth. 

Besides, a tribute of well deserved praise must be 
paid to the society which has been providentially founded 
to provide missionaries with what they need for the 
sacred ministry. We also express Our paternal approval 
of those societies of women who so usefully devote 
themselves to making vestments and altar linen. And 
finally We declare to all Our beloved priests of the 
whole Church that the work done by the faithful for 
the salvation of the infidel produces splendid results by \k 
way of renewing their own faith; and an increase of/V 
virtue keeps pace with an increase in missionary zeal. '' 

We should not like to conclude this Encyclical Letter 
without addressing Ourselves earnestly to the clergy and 
all the faithful to express to them particularly Our 
warm gratitude. We understand that this year also there 
is a great increase in the generous help and support 
given by Our children to the missions. Your charity 
can certainly be employed in no better cause, since it is 
thus destined to propagate the Kingdom of Christ and 
to bring salvation to so many still outside the fold. It 
is the Lord Himself Who "gave ... to everyone of 
them commandment concerning his neighbour" .^9 

In this connection the warning which We gave in Our 
Letter to Our beloved son Pietro Cardinal Fumasoni 
Biondi, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Propa- 
ganda Fide, on August 9th, 1950, We should like to 
inculcate once again in view of the new danger that 
now threatens: "Let all the faithful . . . continue in 
their determination to support the missions, multiplying . 
their activities on their behalf, ceaselessly praying 
fervently to God for them, aiding missionaries and pro- I 
viding for their needs as far as they can. 

"The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, in which 



49 Ecclus. xvii, 12. 



72 The Popes and the Missions 

'if one part is suffering, all the rest suffer with it' .^ 
Hence, since many of these members today are being 
tortured and maltreated, it is the sacred duty of the 
faithful to be united with them in a sincere and deep 
sympathy. In some parts of the missions the scourge 
of war has mercilessly razed to the ground churches and 
mission stations, schools and hospitals. To restore these 
losses and to reconstruct so many buildings, the whole 
Catholic world, which has proved its special care for 
and love of the missions, will generously furnish the 
necessary help." si 

Venerable Brethren, you are well aware that almost 
the whole human race is today allowing itself to be 
driven into two opposing camps, for Christ or against 
Christ. The human race is involved today in a supreme 
crisis, which will issue in its salvation by Christ, or in 
its dire destruction. The preachers of the Gospel are 
using their talents and energy to extend the Kingdom 
of Christ; but there are other preachers who, since they 
profess materialism and reject all hope of eternal happi- 
ness, are trying to drag men down to an abject condition. 

With all the more reason, then, does the Catholic 
Church, most loving mother of all men, call on all her 
children to be zealous in helping these intrepid mission- 
aries by their offerings, by prayer and by fostering 
missionary vocations. In motherly fashion she compels 
them to wear the livery of tender compassion, 52 and 
to take part, if not in the actual apostolate, at least by 
zealous co-operation and not allow the wish of the most 
loving Heart of Jesus to remain unrealised. Who "came 
to seek and to save what was lost"." If they help in 
any way to bring the light and consolations of the faith 
to one hearth, let them understand that a divine force 



50 


I Cor. xii, 26. 


51 


A.A.S., 1950, pp. 727-728. 


52 


Cf. Coloss. iii, 12. 


53 


Luke xix, 10. 



The Popes and the Missions 73 

has been thus released, which will keep on growing in 
momentum throughout the ages. If they help even one 
candidate for the priesthood, they will fully share in 
all the future Masses and in all the fruits of sanctity 
and apostolic works that will be his. Indeed all the 
faithful make up one and the same immense family who 
as members of the Church militant, suffering and 
triumphant share their benefits with one another. There 
seems to be nothing more apt than the dogma of the 
communion of saints for bringing home to the people the 
utility and importance of the missions. 

With these paternal good wishes and the indication 
of timely principles and norms, We hope that on the 
twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of the 
Encyclical Letter Rerum Ecclesice all Catholics will 
avail themselves of this propitious occasion to ensure 
new and ever greater progress for the missions. 

With this cherished hope We impart to each of you. 
Venerable Brethren, to all the clergy and people, and 
especially to those who promote this most holy cause, 
either at home by prayer and offerings, or by their 
labours in foreign lands, as a pledge of heavenly graces 
and of Our paternal affection, the Apostolic Benediction. 



FIDEI DONUM 

ON THE PRESENT STATE OF THE CATHOLIC 
MISSIONS ESPECIALLY IN AFRICA 

Encyclical Letter of Pius XII, April 21st, ig^y 

nPHE incomparable riches which God deposits in our 
souls with the gift of faith should give rise to 
immense gratitude. The P'aith, in fact, introduces us 
to the secret mysteries of the divine life. In it are 
founded all our hopes, and even in this earthly life it 
strengthens and reinforces the bond of the Christian 
community, as the Apostle said: "One Lord, one Faith, 
one baptism".^ It is the gift above all others which 
places on our lips the hymn of gratitude : ' 'What shall 
I render to the Lord for all the things that He hath 
rendered to me? "2 

What will we offer to the Lord in exchange for this 
divine gift, other than the homage of the spirit, if not 
our zeal to diffuse among men the splendour of divine 
truth? The missionary spirit, animated by the fire of 
charity, is in some way the first answer to our gratitude 
towards God, in communicating to our brothers the 
Faith which we have received. 

Considering on the one hand the innumerable legions 
of Our sons who, especially in lands of ancient Christian 
tradition, are participants in the riches of the faith, and 
on the other hand the even more numerous mass of those 
who are still waiting for the message of salvation, We 
feel the ardent desire to exhort you. Venerable Brethren, 
to support with your zeal the holy cause of the expansion 



1 Eph. iv, 5. 

2 Ps. 115, 12. 



74 



The Popes and the Missions 75 

of the Church in the world. May it be God's will that, 
following Our appeal, the missionary spirit may pene- 
trate more deeply in the hearts of all priests and, through 
their ministry, inflame all the faithful. 

The Gift of Faith 

It is certainly not the first time, as you well know, 
that We and Our predecessors have addressed you on 
this serious matter, which is particularly suited to 
nurturing the apostolic fervour of Christians who are 
become more conscious of the demands consequent upon 
the faith received from God. 

This fervour directs itself toward the de-Christianised 
regions of Europe and the vast territories of South 
America, where We know that the needs are great. It 
places itself at the service of so many important missions 
of Oceania and Asia, where more than an57where else the 
struggle is difficult. It gives fraternal support to 
thousands of Christians, especially dear to Our heart, 
who are the honour of the Church because they know 
the evangelical beatitude of those who "suffer persecu- 
tion for justice's sake".' It has pity on the spiritual 
poverty of the innumerable victims of modem atheism, 
above all for the young who grow up in ignorance and 
sometimes in their hatred for God. 

All are necessary and urgent tasks which require 
from everyone a reawakening of apostolic energy, 
creating "great legions of apostles similar to those which 
the Church knew at her dawn".* But, while keeping 
these indispensable tasks present in Our mind and in 
Our prayer, while recommending them to your zeal, 
it has seemed necessary to Us to turn your attention to 
Africa today, in the hour in which she is being opened 



3 Matt. V, lo. 

4 Acta Apostolicae Sedis XLIV, 1952, p. 370. 



76 The Popes and the Missions 

up to the life of the modern world, and passing through 
what may prove to be the most important years of her 
millenary destiny. 



I. THE CHURCH IN AFRICA 

The expansion of the Church in Africa over the last 
decades is a reason for joy and pride among all 
Christians. 

According to the pledge We took at the time of Our 
elevation to the Supreme Pontificate, "to spare no effort 
in order that ... the Cross in which is salvation and 
life, may extend its shadow to the most remote regions 
of the world", 5 We have supported the progress of the 
Gospel on that continent with all Our power. 

Ecclesiastical districts have been increased. The 
number of Catholics has increased considerably and 
continues to grow at a rapid pace. We have had the 
joy of establishing the hierarchy in many countries and 
of raising many African priests to the fullness of the 
priesthood, in conformity with the "ultimate purpose" 
of missionary labour, which is to establish the Church 
"firmly and permanently among new peoples". * 

Thus the young African churches today take the place 
which awaits them in the great Catholic family, greeted 
with fraternal love by older-established dioceses which 
have gone before them in the faith. Legions of apostles, 
priests, religious Orders of men and women, catechists 
and lay helpers have thus achieved comforting results, 
thanks to a labour whose hidden sacrifices are known 
only to God. To each and all of them We extend Our 



5 Allocution of May ist, 1939 — EHscourses and Radio 
Messages, vol. I, p. 87. 

6 Encyclical Evangelii Praecones — Acta Apostolicac Sedis 
XLin, 1 95 1, p. 507. 



The Popes and the Missions 77 

paternal gratitude and felicitations. There, as every- 
where, the Church can be proud of the work of her 



missionanes. 



The Urgency of the Task 

Nevertheless, the greatness of the accomplished task 
should not make one forget that "the work which 
remains to be done requires an immense effort and 
innumerable workers".- At a time when the establish- 
ment of the hierarchy might erroneously lead one to 
believe that missionary activity is nearing its end, the 
"care of all the churches''^ of the vast African continent 
tills Our soul with anxiety more than ever. 

How then could We not be stricken at heart when 
We consider, from this ApostoHc See, the grave 
problems imposed there upon the extension and 
deepening of Christian life? How could We not be 
touched when We compare the size and urgency of the 
tasks with the extremely small number of apostolic 
workers and their lack of means? 

This suffering We confide to you, Venerable Brethren, 
and it pleases Us to think that the promptness and 
generosity of your response will once more spark hope 
in the hearts of so many generous apostles. 

The general conditions under which the work of the 
Church in Africa is carried out are known to you. They 
are difficult. The majority of these territories are going 
through a phase of social, economic and political evolu- 
tion which is full of consequences for their future. It is 
necessary to recognise that the numerous influences of 
international life upon local situations do not always 
allow even the wisest rulers to judge the measures which 
would be necessary for the true welfare of these people. 



7 Ibid, p. 505. 

8 II Cor. xi. 28. 



78 The Popes and the Missions 

A Spirit of Understanding 

The Church, which has seen so many nations born 
and grow up during the past centuries, csinnot but 
give particular heed today to the accession of new 
peoples to the responsibilities of political freedom. 

Several times already have We invited the nations 
concerned to proceed along this road in a spirit of peace 
and mutual understanding. "Would that a just and 
progressive political freedom be not denied to these 
people (who aspire to it) and that no obstacle be set 
in the way," We said to some. We warned others "to 
credit Europe with their progress, without whose 
influence, extended to all fields, they could have been 
led by a blind nationalism to hurl themselves into chaos 
and slavery".' 

In renewing here this double exhortation, We express 
Our wish that a task of constructive collaboration may 
be carried out in Africa; a collaboration free of prejudices 
and mutual sensitiveness, preserved from the seductions 
and strictures of false nationalism, and capable of 
extending to these people, rich in resources and future, 
the true values of Christian civilisation, which have 
already borne so many good fruits in other continents. 

We know that atheistic materialism has, alas, spread 
its virus of division throughout various regions of 
Africa, stirring up passions, making peoples and races 
rise against one another, making use of real difficulties 
to seduce minds with easy mirages or to sow rebellion 
in hearts. In Our solicitude for a genuine human and 
Christian progress of the African peoples, We wish to 
renew here in their regard the grave and solemn admoni- 
tions which We have already addressed on this subject 
to the Catholics of the entire world. We congratulate 
their pastors who, on more than one occasion, have 



9 Christmas Message 1955 — Acta Apostolicae Sedis XLVIII, 
1956, p. 40. 



The Popes and the Missions 79 

already firmly denounced to their faithful the dangers 
to which they are exposed by these false shepherds. 

The Spread of Islam 

But while the enemies of the name of God multiply 
their insidious and violent efforts on that continent, it 
is necessary to denounce other serious obstacles which 
run counter to the progress of evangelisation in certain 
regions. In particular you know the easy attraction 
exercised upon a great number of minds by a religious 
concept of life which, although calling strongly upon 
the deity, none the less attracts its followers to a way 
which is not that of Jesus Christ, the only Saviour of 
all people. As a Father Our heart is open to all men 
of good will. But, being the Vicar of Him Who is the 
Way, the Truth and the Life, We cannot consider such 
a state of affairs without great sorrow. 

There are other causes for this state of affairs. In 
many Ccises they are recent historic causes, and they are 
not always unconnected with the attitude of nations who 
take a pride in their Christian past. There is cause 
for serious concern for the Catholic future of Africa 
in this. Specifically, will the sons of the Church under- 
stand their obligation to help the missionaries of the 
Gospel more effectively to announce the saving truth to 
about eighty-five million Africans who are still attached 
to pagan beliefs, before it is too late? 

Considerations of this kind are becoming even more 
serious as a result of the general quickening of events, 
of which the Bishops and leaders among the Catholics 
of Africa are deeply aware. 

At the moment when new structures are being sought 
— while some run the risk of abandoning themselves to 
the false seductions of a technical civilisation — the 
Church has the duty to offer to them, in the greatest 
measure possible, the substantial riches of her doctrine 
and her life as animators of a Christian social order. 
Any delay would be fraught with serious consequences. 



8o The Popes and the Missions 

The Means are Inadequate 

The Africans, who are passing in a few decades 
through the stages of an evolution which the Western 
world achieved in the course of several centuries, are 
more easily disturbed and seduced by the scientific and 
technical teaching which is being given to them, as well 
as by the materialistic influences to which they are sub- 
jected. For this reason situations may be created here 
and there which it would be difficult to amend, and 
consequently the penetration of Catholicism into souls 
and society would be impsiired. 

It is necessary, without delay, to give pastors of souls 
the means of action proportionate to the importance and 
urgency of the present circumstances. Yet, with rare 
exceptions, these means of missionary action are still 
inadequate for the task that needs to be done. Although 
this lack is unfortunately not to be found in Africa 
alone, it is strongly felt there because of the circum- 
stances. 

It will be useful. Venerable Brethren, to give you 
some particular indications on this point. 

In recently established missions, for example, founded 
in some cases only about ten years ago, there can be 
no hope for a long time of perceptible help from local 
clergy. And the too few missionaries, scattered over 
vast territories — where other (non-Catholic) confessions 
are also working — can no longer meet all demands. 
In one particular place there are forty priests for almost 
a million souls, of whom some 25,000 are Catholics. 
In another place there are fifty priests for a population 
of two million inhabitants, where the 60,000 faithful 
among them are enough to absorb all the time of the 
missionaries. 

Upon reading these figures, a Christian heart cannot 
remain indifferent. Twenty more priests in a particular 
region would make it possible to plant the cross there 
today, while tomorrow this same land, tilled by other 



The Popes and the Missions 8i 

workers than those of the Lord, will probably have 
become impervious to the true Faith. 

Furthermore, it is not enough only to preach the 
Gospel. In the social and political crisis which Africa 
is undergoing, it is necessary quickly to form a select 
group of Christians in the midst of a still neophyte 
people. But to what proportions will the number of 
missionaries have to grow in order to enable them to 
perform this task of the personal formation of 
consciences? 

The Shortage of Qergy 

To such a scarcity of men there is almost always 
added a lack of means which at times borders on extreme 
poverty. Who will give these new missions, generally 
situated in poor regions that are nevertheless important 
for the future of evangelisation, the generous help which 
they so urgently need? The missionary suffers upon 
seeing himself so deprived of means in the face of such 
tasks. He does not ask to be admired, but rather to 
be helped in establishing the Church where this can still 
be done. 

The conditions of the apostolate in the older established 
missions, where the proportion of Catholics and their 
fervour are a source of joy to Our heart, are, although 
different, no less a matter for concern. Here also the 
lack of priests is sorely felt. These dioceses or Vicariates 
Apostolic must in fact develop without delay the 
activities indispensable for the expansion and radiation 
of Catholicism. 

Colleges and schools must be founded, and Christian y 
doctrine taught throughout all grades. Organisations 
for social action must be established to guide the 
work of chosen groups of Catholics in the service 
of society. The Catholic Press must be developed 
in all its forms. Modern techniques for the diffusion of 
culture must be studied, for it is known in our day how 



82 The Popes and the Missions 

important a well-formed and enlightened public opinion 
is. Above all, attention must be given to the growing 
development of Catholic Action, and to the satisfaction 
of the religious and cultural needs of a generation which, 
deprived of sufficient food, might be exposed to the 
danger of going outside the Church to seek nourishment. 
In order to undertake these different tasks, the pastors 
of souls need not only greater means, but also, and 
above all, collaborators prepared for these more diverse 
and therefore more difficult ministries. Such apostles 
cannot be improvised. They are frequently lacking, yet 
the need is urgent, if the confidence of the future ^lite 
is not to be lost. 

Missionary Vocations 

We wish here to express all Our gratitude to the 
religious Congregations, to the priests and militant laity 
who, impressed with the seriousness of the times, have 
spontaneously met such needs. Certain initiatives have 
already borne fruit and, combined with the dedication 
of all, they open the way to great hopes. 

But it is truly Our duty to affirm that in this field 
there still remain enormous tasks to be done. Even 
the very progress of the missions poses a new difficulty 
for the Church in certain territories. In fact, the success 
of evangelisation requires a proportionate increase in the 
number of apostles, if one does not want to compromise 
this magnificent development. Missionary Congrega- 
tions are now being sought after on all sides, and the 
insufficiency of vocations prevents them from fulfilling 
all these requests. 

You know, Venerable Brethren, that the number of 
priests in proportion to that of the faithful is decreasing 
in Africa. The African clergy is undoubtedly growing, 
but it will not be able to take complete charge of the 
management of its own dioceses for many years to come, 
even with the help of the missionaries who bring the 



The Popes and the Missions 83 

faith. Those young Christian communities cannot for 
the time being, left to their own resources, fulfil their 
duties in the decisive moment through which they are 
now passing. 

Will not the difficulties of such circumstances recall 
to their missionary duty Our many sons who do not 
thank God enough for the gift of faith received in their 
Christian family, and for the means of salvation placed 
at their disposal? 



II. THE CO-OPERATION OF THE ENTIRE 
CHURCH 

These conditions of the apostolate, which We have 
outlined, clearly show, Venerable Brethren, that the 
problems of Africa are no longer a limited and local 
matter that can be resolved at leisure, gradually, and 
independently of the general life of the Christian world. 

If in other times "the life of the Church, in its visible 
aspect, extended its force — especially in those countries 
of old Europe from which she spread — toward what 
could then be called the limits of the world, today on 
the contrary she presents herself as an exchange of life 
and energy between all the members of the Mystical 
Body of Christ upon earth", 10 The repercussions of 
the Catholic situation in Africa go greatly beyond the 
frontiers of that continent, and it is necessary that, 
under the impulse of this Apostolic See, the fraternal 
response to so many needs should come from the entire 
Church. 

It is therefore not without reason that We turn to you. 
Venerable Brethren, in an hour which is important to 
the expansion of the Church. "If, in our mortal body. 



10 Christmas Message 1945 — Acta Apostolicae Sedis 
XXXVIII, 1946, p. 20. 



84 The Popes and the Missions 

when one member suffers, all the others suffer with 
it, 11 the sound members providing the sick members 
with the proper help, likewise in the Church each mem- 
ber does not live for himself alone, but helps the others, 
and all help each other for their mutual consolation, 
as well as for a better development of the whole body".^^ 

A Call to the Bishops 

Are the Bishops not in truth "the most eminent 
members of the universal Church, those who are joined 
to the Divine Head of the entire Body with a very 
special bond and therefore are justly called 'the first 
members of the Lord' "P^^ 

Of them more than others it can be said that Christ, 
the Head of the Mystical Body, "asks the help of His 
members : because iitst of all the Sovereign Pontiff takes 
the place of Jesus Christ and must, in order not to be 
crushed by the weight of his pastoral duties, call upon 
many to share his anxieties".^* United in closer bond 
to Christ and His Vicar, Venerable Brethren, you will 
take to heart, in a lively spirit of charity, this sharing of 
the solicitude for all the churches which weighs upon 
Our shoulders. ^5 

Stimulated by the charity of Christi** you will be 
happy to feel deeply with Us the urgent duty of propa- 
gating the Gospel and of founding the Church through- 
out the whole world; you will be happy to pour out 
among your clergy and your people a spirit of prayer 
and mutual help, in dimensions as great as the Heart of 
Christ. "If you want to love Christ," said St. Augustine, 



11 Cfr. I Cor. xii, 26. 

12 Encyclical Mystici Corporis, A.A.S. XXXV, 1943, p. 200. 

13 Ibid, p. 211. 

14 Ibid, p. 213. 

15 Cfr. II Cor. xi, 28. 

16 Cfr. II Cor. V, 4. 



The Popes and the Missions 85 

"spread charity all over the earth, for the members of 
Christ are all over the world. "i^ 

A Joint Responsibility 

Without doubt, Jesus Christ has entrusted His entire 
flock to the Apostle Peter alone and to his successors, 
the Roman Pontiffs: "Pasce agnos meos, fasce oves 
meas — Feed my lambs, feed my sheep". ^^ gut, if every 
Bishop is the proper pastor only of that portion of the 
flock entrusted to his care, his quality as a legitimate 
successor of the apostles by divine institution renders 
him jointly responsible for the apostolic mission of the 
Church, according to the words of Christ to His apostles : 
"as the Father has sent me, I also send you''.^' 

This mission, which must embrace all nations and all 
times^o did not cease with the death of the apostles. It 
continues in the person of all the Bishops in communion 
with the Vicar of Jesus Christ. "The dignity of the 
Apostles, which is the foremost in the Church," as St. 
Thomas Aquinas asserted, 21 "resides in its fullness in 
those who are first and foremost envoys and missionaries 
of the Lord." 

This apostolic fire, brought upon earth by Jesus, must 
communicate itself from their hearts to the hearts of 
all Our sons, and it must incite in them a new ardour 
for the missionary activity of the Church throughout 
the world. 

The Missionary Spirit 

Furthermore, this interest for the universal needs of 
the Church really manifests in a living and true manner 
the Catholicity of the Church. "The missionary spirit 

17 On the Epistle of John to Parthos, Tr. X, n. 8, Migne 
P.L. XXXV, 2060. 

18 John xxi, 16-18. 

19 John XX, 21. 

20 Cfr. Matt, xxviii, 19-20. 

21 Expos, in Epist. ad Rom. c. I, lect. I. 



86 The Popes and the Missions 

and the Catholic spirit, We have said before, are one 
and the same thing. Catholicity is an essential note of 
the true Church. This is so to such an extent that a 
Christian is not truly faithful and devoted to the Church 
if he is not equally attached and devoted to her 
universality, desiring that she take root and flourish in 
all parts of the earth. "22 

Nothing is more foreign to the Church of Jesus Christ 
than division. Nothing is more harmful to her life 
than isolation, retiring into oneself, and all the forms of 
collective egoism which induce a particular Christian 
community, whatever it may be, to close itself up within 
itself. 

"Mother of all nations and of all peoples as well as 
of all individuals," our Holy Mother the Church "is not 
and cannot be foreign in any place; she lives, or at 
least by her nature she should live, in all f)eoples."23 
Inversely, We could say that nothing which concerns 
Our Mother the Church is or can fail to be the concern of 
a CathoUc. Just as his faith is the faith of the entire 
Church, and his supernatural life the hfe of the whole 
Church, so the joys and anxieties of the Church will be 
his joys and anxieties, the universal perspectives of the 
Church will be the normal perspectives of his Christian 
life. The appeals of the Roman Pontiffs for the great 
apostolic tasks in the world will find a spontaneous echo 
in his fully Catholic heart, grave and urgent as they are. 



III. THREEFOLD MISSIONARY DUTY 

Missionary from her very origins, the Holy Church 
has not ceased to accomplish the work in which she 



?2 Christmas Message 1946, Discourses and Radio Messages 
vol. VIII. p. 328. 

23 Christmas Message 1945 — Acta Apostolicae Sedis 
XXXVIII, 1946, p. 18. 



The Popes and the Missions &7 

could not fail, to address to her faithful the threefold 
invitation to prayer, to generosity and, to some, the gift 
of themselves. The missions of today, especially those 
of Africa, still expect this threefold assistance from the 
Catholic world. 

Therefore, Venerable Brethren, We desire in the first 
place that more prayers be said for this intention, and 
that they be said with more enUghtened fervour. 

It is your duty to support among your priests and 
faithful an unceasing and insistent supplication for such 
a holy cause. And it is your duty to nourish this prayer 
with fitting instruction and regular information on the 
life of the Church, to stimulate it in certain periods of 
the liturgical year which are more adapted to recalling 
Christians to their missionary duty. 

Primarily, We think of Advent, which is the time of 
humanity's expectation and of the providential ways 
of preparation for salvation; the Epiphany, which 
manifests this salvation to the world, and Pentecost, 
which celebrates the foundation of the Church through 
the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. 

But is not the most excellent form of prayer, perhaps, 
that which Christ, the Supreme Priest, addressed to the 
Father on the altars on which He renews His redeeming 
sacrifice? In these years which are probably decisive 
for the future of Catholicism in many countries, let us 
multiply the Masses celebrated for the intentions of the 
missions. These are the intentions of Our Lord Himself, 
Who loves His Church and would have her extended to 
and flourishing in every place on earth. 

Without contesting in any way the legitimacy of 
private petitions of the faithful, it would be fitting to 
recall to them the primordial intentions indissolubly 
bound to the act of the Eucharistic sacrifice itself, 
inscribed furthermore in the Canon of the Mass of the 
Latin rite : "In primis . . . pro Ecclesia tua sand a 



88 The Popes and the Missions 

catholica, quam pacificare, custodire, adunare et regere 
digneris toto orbe terrarum" . 

These highest perspectives will be better understood, 
however, if one keeps in mind that, according to the 
teaching of Our Encyclical Mediator Dei, every Mass 
celebrated is essentially an action of the Church, since 
"the minister of the altar represents Christ offering, as 
the Head (of the Mystical Body), in the name of all its 
members". 24 It is therefore the whole Church which 
through Christ presents the holy offering "pro totius 
mundi salute" to the Father. How therefore should not 
the prayer of the faithful be raised in union with that of 
the Pope, the Bishops and the entire Church, to implore 
from God a new pouring out of the Holy Spirit, thanks 
to Whom "profusis gaudiis, totus in orbe terrarum 
mundus exsultat"!'^^ 

"Pray Still More" 

Pray therefore, Venerable Brethren and beloved 
children; pray still more. Bear in mind the immense 
spiritual needs of so many people who are still so far 
from the true faith or who are so much deprived of 
help to persevere in it. Turn to the heavenly Father 
and, with Jesus, repeat the prayer which was that of 
apostolic workers of every time: "Hallowed be Thy 
name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth 
as it is in heaven!" 

For the honour of God and the splendour of His glory, 
We wish that His reign of justice, love and peace be 
at last established in every place. Is not this zeal for 
the glory of God, in a heart burning with love for its 
brothers, the highest form of missionary zeal? The 
apostle is before all else God's herald. 

But would a prayer for the missionary Church be 



24 Acta Apostolicae Sedis XXXIX, 1947, p. 55C. 

25 Preface of Pentecost. 



The Popes and the Missions 89 

sincere if it were not accompanied, wherever possible, 
by a gesture of generosity? 

Funds for the Missions 

More than all others do we know the inexhaustible 
charity of Our children. We who constantly receive 
moving and manifold testimonies of it. We know that 
it is thanks to their generosity that the marvellous pro- 
gress of evangelisation has taken place since the 
beginning of this century. 

We wish here to thank Our beloved sons and daughters 
who dedicate themselves to the service of the missions 
by various works, inspired by an industrious charity. 
We also wish to render special homage to those who, in 
pontifical missionary organisations, consecrate them- 
selves to the task — at times thankless but so very noble 
— of extending their hand in the name of the Church 
towards the young Christian communities which are 
her pride and her hope. 

We congratulate them with all Our heart, and We 
likewise express Our gratitude to all the members of the 
Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith 
who, under the guidance of Our beloved son, the 
Cardinal Prefect, are assuming the importaant task of 
serving the progress of the Church in vast continents. 

But Our Apostolic Office makes it a duty for Us, 
Venerable Brethren, to tell you that these gifts, received 
with so much gratitude, are unfortunately far from 
sufficient for the growing needs of the missionary 
apostolate. 

We daily receive anxious appeals from pastors who 
see the good to be done, the evil that needs urgently to 
be removed, the necessary buildings that must be con- 
structed, the organisations that must be founded. Our 
suffering is great at not being able to give more than a 
partial and inadequate response to such legitimate 
requests. 



90 The Popes and the Missions 

For example, this is what happens in the case of the 
Pontifical Organisation of St. Peter the Apostle. The 
subsidies which it distributes to seminaries in missionary 
countries are considerable. But, thank God, the voca- 
tions are more cind more numerous every year, requiring 
more and more of the funds which are so vital. Will 
it, therefore, now be necessary to limit these providential 
vocations to the measure of the money available? Will 
it be necessary to close the seminary doors to generous 
and hopeful young men for want of funds, as We have 
been told has happened at times? No, We do not want 
to believe that the Christian world, faced with its 
responsibilities, will refuse to make the exceptional effort 
called for in meeting these needs. 

The Need for Sacrifice 

We are not unaware of the hardness of the present 
times and of the difficulties encountered by the older 
dioceses of Europe or America. But, if figures were 
quoted, one would immediately see that this poverty 
could be considered relative prosperity if compared to 
the extremely miserable state in which others find them- 
selves. 

Besides, comparison is useless, for it is not so much 
a matter of entering balances as of exhorting the faithful, 
as We have already done on a solemn occasion, "to 
enlist under the standard of Christian renunciation and 
self-denial — which goes beyond that which is commanded 
and prompts one to fight the good fight with generous 
spirit — according to the invitation of grace and in 
keeping with one's own circumstances . . . That which 
will be taken from vanity, will be given to the Church 
and to the poor in mercy" .2* What could the missionary 
not do, who is paralysed in his apostolate for want of 
means, with the money that a Christian not infrequently 



26 Discourse, Nov. 2nd, 1950 — Acta Apostolkae Sedis 
XLII, p. 787. 



The Popes and the Missions 91 

spends on passing fancies! May every member of the 
faith, every family, every Christian community question 
itself on this pomt. 

Recalling the "generosity of Jesus Christ Our Lord 
Who, having all things, made Himself poor for you to 
enrich you with His poverty ",2^ give that which is 
superfluous to your needs, and even sometimes that 
which is necessary. The development of the mission- 
ary apostolate depends upon your liberality. The face 
of the world can be renewed with a victory of charity. 

Missionary Vocations 

The Church in Africa, as in every other mission 
territory, lacks apostles. 

Therefore We turn again to you. Venerable Brethren, 
to ask you to foster more missionary vocations to 
the priesthood and the religious life in every way. It 
falls to you in the first place to develop among the 
faithful a conditioning of the spirit, as We said a short 
while ago, an opening of the soul which renders them 
more sensitive to the universal interests of the Church 
and more apt to hear the ancient calling of the Lord, 
which echoes from age to age, "Leave your country, 
your kinsfolk and your father's house, for the land which 
I will show you". 28 

A generation trained according to these truly Catholic 
ideals, either in families or in schools, in parishes or in 
Catholic Action and in pious works, such a generation 
will give to the Church the apostles she needs to 
announce the Gospel to all peoples. 

This missionary inspiration, furthermore, spreading 
through all your dioceses, will be a pledge of spiritual 
renewal for you. A Christian community which gives its 
sons and daughters to the Church cannot die. And, if it 
is true that the supernatural life is a life of charity and 



27 II Cor. viii, 9. 

28 Gen. xii, i. 



92 The Popes and the Missions 

grows with the giving of one's self, it can be asserted 
that the Catholic vitality of a nation is measured by the 
sacrifices it is capable of making for the missionary 
cause. 

However, it is not enough to form an atmosphere 
favourable to this cause. It is necessary to do more than 
that. Thank God, there are numerous dioceses which 
are so amply provided with priests that they could agree 
to the sacrifice of some vocations without running any 
risk. We turn to them above all with paternal insistence : 
"Whatever is over and above give to the poor". 2' 

The Widow's Mite 

But We think also of those among Our brothers of 
the episcopacy who are troubled by a sad decrease in 
religious and priestly vocations and who can no longer 
meet the spiritual 'needs of their flocks. We identify 
Ourselves with their pastoral sufferings and We willingly 
say of them as St. Paul said to the Corinthians, "For 
I do not mean that the relief of others should become 
your burden, but that there should be equality ".'o 
Dioceses thus tried should not, however, be deaf to the 
appeal of the distant missions. The widow's mite was 
given as an example by Our Lord, and the generosity 
of one poor diocese for others even poorer would not 
impoverish it. God will not let Himself be outdone in 
generosity. 

Isolated efforts will not suffice for resolving the 
complex problems of missionary vocations effectively. 
Remember these problems in your meetings therefore, 
Venerable Brethren, and in the framework of national 
organisations, where they exist. On that scale it will 
be easier to put into effect the means of action best 
suited for the revival of missionary vocations. At the 
same time you will more easily bear the responsibilities 



29 Cfr. Luke xi, 41. 

30 II Cor. viii, 13. 



The Popes and the Missions 93 

which render you united in the service of the general 
interests of the Church. 

The Missionary Union of the Qergy 

Give generous support in your dioceses to the 
Missionary Union of the Clergy, so often recommended 
by Our predecessors and by Ourselves. We have recently 
elevated it to the dignity of a pontifical organisation, so 
that no one would doubt the esteem in which We hold 
it and the importance that We give to its development. 

Finally, let there be established a close co-ordination 
of efforts, indispensable factor for success, between 
pastors of souls and those who labour more immediately 
for the missions. We have in mind particularly the 
national presidents of the pontifical missionary organisa- 
tions, whose task you wifll render easier by sustaining 
their diocesan directors with your authority and your 
zeal. We have in mind also the superiors of those 
deserving Congregations to whom the Holy See does 
not cease to appeal to meet the more urgent needs of 
missions. They cannot increase the number of voca- 
tions without the benevolent understanding of local 
Ordinaries. 

Study together the best ways of reconciling the real 
interests of the one and the other. If at times these 
interests seem momentarily divergent, is it perhaps not 
because one ceases to consider them with sufficient faith 
in the supernatural vision of the unity and the Catholicity 
of the Church? 

African Students Overseas 

In the same spirit of fraternal and disinterested 
collaboration you should have care. Venerable Brethren, 
to be solicitous for the spiritual assistance of young 
Africans and Asians who must live temporarily in your 
dioceses to pursue their studies. 

Deprived of the natural social environment of their 



94 The Popes and the Missions 

native countries, they often remain for various reasons 
without sufficient contact with the centres of Cathohc 
hfe in the nations that have given them hospitality. For 
this reason their Christian Ufe can find itself endangered, 
because the true values of the new civilisation which they 
discover still remains hidden to them, while materialistic 
influences deeply trouble them and atheistic associations 
strive to win their confidence. 

The present and the future seriousness of this state of 
affairs should not escape you. Thus, becoming aware 
of the cares of the missionary Bishops, you will not 
hesitate to appoint some exerienced and zealous priests 
of your diocese for this apostolate. 

Another form of interchangeable assistance, certainly 
not without its sacrifices, is adopted by some Bishops 
who give permission to one or the other of their priests, 
even at some sacrifice, to leave their diocese for a time 
and place themselves at the disposition of the Ordinaries 
in Africa. 

These sacrifices are of incomparable value in so far 
as they ensure the wise and discreet introduction of new 
and more specialised forms of the priestly ministry. 
Moreover they supplement the clergy of these African 
dioceses in the teaching of ecclesiastical and secular 
subjects with which the local clergy cannot possibly 
cope. We readily encourage such generous and timely 
initiatives. Trained and placed with prudence, such 
men could make a valuable contribution to African 
Catholicism in a difficult but hopeful time. 

Assistance to missionary dioceses, nowadays, assumes 
another form which gives joy to Our heart, and which, 
before We conclude this letter, We would like to indicate. 

We refer to the effective task which lay militants 
undertake, acting principally within the framework of 
national and international Catholic movements, in 
performing a service to the young Christian communities. 
Their co-operation stipulates careful attention to the 



The Popes and the Missions 95 

requirements of an alien culture, moderation and pru- 
-dence. But how precious is the help thus brought to 
those dioceses which must face new and urgent apostolic 
duties! 

With full submission to the Bishop of the diocese who 
is responsible for the apostolate, and in perfect collabora- 
tion with African Catholics as well, who understand the 
benefits of such fraternal support, these lay militants 
offer to new dioceses the advantage of a long experience 
of Catholic and social action, as well as of all the other 
forms of specialised apostolate. They promote, further- 
more — and this is not the least of their contributions — 
the rapid linking of local organisations with the vast 
network of international Catholic organisations. We 
congratulate them with all Our hearts for their zeal in 
the service of the Church. 



IV. CONCLUSION 

In addressing to you this grave and urgent appeal in 
favour of the African missions, Our thoughts — as you 
have well understood, Venerable Brethren — have never 
departed from all those of Our sons who consecrate them- 
selves to the progress of the Church in other continents. 
All of them are equally dear to Us, especially those who 
are suffering so much in the missions of the Far East. 
Even though the peculiar circumstances of Africa have 
been the occasion for this Encyclical Letter, We do not 
want to end it without turning Our eyes once more to 
the totality of the Catholic missions. 

To you. Venerable Brethren, pastors responsible for 
lands recently evangelised, who establish the Church or 
strengthen her position at the cost of great toil, We intend 
that Our letter may bring you not only the testimony of 
Our paternal solicitude, but also the assurance that the 
entire Catholic community, informed once again of the 
magnitude and difficulties of your tasks, stands more 



96 The Popes and the Missions 

than ever before at your side to support you with its 
prayers, its sacrifices and the sending of the best among 
its sons. What matters the material distance which 
separates you from the centre of Christianity! Are not 
the most vahant and vulnerable of the Church's sons also 
the most dear to her heart? 

The Need for Perseverance 

To yot again — missionaries, priests of the local clergy, 
religious men and women, seminarians, catechists, lay 
militants, all apostles of Jesus Christ, in no matter what 
distant or unknown place you may be — We renew Our 
expression of gratitude and hope. Persevere trustingly 
in the task undertaken, be proud to serve the Church, 
giving heed to her voice, always more imbued with her 
spirit, united in bonds of fraternal charity. 

What a source of consolation for you, dear sons, and 
what a certainty of victory is the thought that the 
obscure and silent struggle that you wage in the service 
of the Church is not yours alone, nor that of your 
generation or your people only. It is truly the perennial 
struggle of the entire Church, in which all her sons must 
resolve to participate more actively, indebted as they 
are to God and to their brothers for the gift of faith 
received in baptism. 

"For even if I preach the gospel, I have therein no 
ground for boasting," the Apostle of the nations said, 
"since I am under constraint. For woe to me if I do 
not preach the gospel. "^i How could We not apply 
these energetic words to Ourselves who, through Our 
Apostolic mandate, are established "a preacher and an 
apostle ... a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and 
truth". 32 

Invoking upon the Catholic missions, therefore, the 
double patronage of St. Francis Xavier and St. Theresa 



31 I Cor. ix, 16. 

32 I Tim. ii, 7. 



The Popes and the Missions 97 

of the Child Jesus, the protection of all the holy martyrs 
and especially the powerful and maternal intercession 
of Mary, Queen of the Apostles, We address once more 
to the Church the imperious and victorious invitation 
of her Divine Founder: "Put out into the deep"." 

Confident that all Catholics will respond to Our appeal 
with such an ardent generosity that, through the grace 
of God, the missions will finally be able to bring the 
light of Christianity and the progress of civilisation to 
the ends of the earth. We grant to you. Venerable 
Brethren, to your faithful and to each and all of the 
heralds of the Gospel who are so dear to Us, with 
all Our heart, Our Apostolic Benediction as a pledge 
of Our paternal benevolence and of heavenly favours. 



33 Luke V, 4. 



ANALYTICAL INDEX 

Africa, special claims of, 75, 83; change in, 77, 80; Fidei Donum 

passim. 
Association for the Propagation of the Faith, 17, 28, 70, 89. 
Apostleship of Prayer, 15. 
Bishops should not grudge priests for the missions, 15, 26, 92; 

should be ready to lend priests temporarily, 94. 
Catechists, preferably local, needed in greater numbers, 36. 
Cathedrals, should not be too costly, 40. 
Catholic Action in the mission-fields, historical, 56; actual, 

59. 82. 
Communist propaganda, 62, 78. 
Contemplatives in the missions, local foundations, Carthusian 

or Cistercian, 37-8. 
Equality between European and native clergy, 35. 
Existing customs to be respected, 66. 
Fides news agency, 45. 
Funds needed, 89, et passim. 

Holy Childhood, Pontifical Society of the, 17, 29, 46, 70. 
Islam, not explicitly named, 79. 
Languages, importance of knowing local, 11. 
Lay militants in the missions, 94-5. 
Local clergy, reasons for needing, 6, 30, 32, et passim; lack of 

sometimes after centuries, 6-7, 31; long training essentia^ 

6; for leadership ^nd not only subordinate positions, 7; 

to take over if foreign missionaries are expelled, 32. 
Local religious Congregations, 36. 
Mission Aid Societies, Pontifical, 17, 70, 92. 
Missionary clergy, great need for more, 81. 
Missionary exhibition and museum, 21, 28, 69. 
Missionary Orders and Congregations, must be ready to co- 
operate with other religious Orders and Congregations, 5, 

41, 66; must not be nationalist or excessively identified 

with their countries of origin, 5, 8, 9. 
Missionary Superiors, duties of, 3 et seq.; must meet regionally, 

6; must be ready to subdivide or relinquish territory, 5, 42; 

must be ready to co-operate with local Ordinaries when 

eventually these can be appointed, 55. 
Missionary Union of the Clergy, 18, 27, 45, 70, 93. 
Nobles, need to convert, 40. 
Nuns in the mission-fields, 13. 
Pagans, a billion, 3, 22. 

Persecution, recent, in the mission territories, 48. 
Peter the Apostle, Society of St., 17, 29, 70, 90. 
Prayer for the Missions, 87 et passim. 
Press, Catholic, in mission-territories, 61, 81. 
Principles of missionary work resumed, 51. 
Professional qualifications needed, 61-2. 
Progress of the missions in modern times, 44-5. 
Responsibility shared by all the Universal Church, 85. 
Seminaries in missionary territories, 33. 
Social teaching of the Church, relevance of in missionary 

territories, 62-4. 
Students from missionary territories, duties towards, 93. 
Training European missionaries, 10. 
Virtues needed in a missionary, 12. 



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THE FOPES AND THE MISSIONS 
Four Encyclical Letters 



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